Hays has been activated from the injured list and is in left field for tonight’s game against the Braves at Camden Yards.
Davis was in the lineup for Game 2 of Friday’s doubleheader against the Yankees in the Bronx. He went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and is slashing .115/.164/.173 in 55 plate appearances.
A platelet-rich plasma injection administered after Davis’ last trip to the injured list couldn’t prevent a return to it.
The Orioles also released super-utility player Stevie Wilkerson, who fractured his left ring finger in an exhibition game in Philadelphia. Outfielder Mason Williams cleared waivers and was assigned again to the alternate camp site in Bowie.
The 40-man roster currently has 39 players. The 60-man player pool is full.
Wilkerson wasn’t going to return this season and he is headed toward free agency. The Orioles could choose to re-sign him, but today’s move creates a spot in the player pool.
The club will keep monitoring his recovery.
Hays met with Brandon Hyde in the manager’s office earlier today, they talked about the outfielder’s health and the decision was made to activate him. Cedric Mullins is in center field tonight, with DJ Stewart in right and Ryan Mountcastle serving as the designated hitter.
Hyde is batting Hays eighth tonight. Hays is making his first major league appearance in left.
“He had to rest for a while because of the rib issue and then he went to our secondary site,” Hyde said today during his Zoom conference call. “He’s been getting quite a few at-bats. I think he’s gotten 25-30 at-bats in the last week. I just talked to him in my office and he feels really, really healthy and he said his legs feel great, everything feels great.
“He was appreciative of all the at-bats that he got and now he’s ready to go.”
Though Mountcastle is the designated hitter and cleanup hitter tonight, he’s going to play first base during these final two weeks. The flexibility enables Hyde to start an outfield of Hays, Mullins and Stewart and use Renato Núnez as the designated hitter.
“I don’t see a problem getting all four of them in there quite a bit,” Hyde said. “I think everybody needs a day off here and there and I don’t see rotating those four guys or Ryan at first base is any kind of an issue.
“He played infield his whole life. He’s been doing some work at first base here. I know he did a little bit at the secondary site and played some at spring training, so it’s not like he’s unfamiliar with the position. It’s not something that he grew up playing, but he did grow up playing in the dirt, so we feel like he can make the transition there and to get all four guys’ bats in the lineup, he’s going to play a little bit of first base going forward.”
The defense has slipped over the past few weeks, which Hyde largely blames on guys playing out of position on occasion. And there are other factors.
“I think that we’re tired,” he said. “I think not having José Iglesias on the field routinely is a big deal. Not having Chris Davis at first base defensively is tough. You’re going to start seeing Mountcastle over there a little bit going forward, too. He’s going to play left and he’s also going to play first base to get him that experience, as well.
“We’ve just had a little bit of a problem in the infield, being consistent. And losing Richie Martin, a really good defender, that hurt us, also. It hasn’t been a great few weeks defensively. It isn’t from a lack of trying or ground balls these guys are taking or the amount of early work. Maybe sometimes too much and we need to back off these guys and let them rest so they’re ready to play in a game, which I think we do a good job of. But with a shortened season like this, guys are banged up.”
Catcher Pedro Severino had a rough weekend behind the plate in New York. Hunter Harvey’s wild pitch in the 10th inning Saturday moved the winning run to third base and a sacrifice fly produced another loss.
“I think there were some balls that got to the backstop that he was upset about,” Hyde said. “The one with Hunter there in the extra innings, that was 98 (mph) off the plate. That’s just not easy to do, and so I’m not going to fault a guy for not being able to block a 98 mph spiked heater. I think he’d like to be in a little bit better position to give yourself a chance to block it.
“More balls got past him this weekend than we’ve seen and I know that he was not feeling great about it.”
For the Orioles
Cedric Mullins CF
José Iglesias SS
DJ Stewart RF
Ryan Mountcastle DH
Rio Ruiz 3B
Renato Núñez 1B
Chance Sisco C
Austin Hays LF
Andrew Velazquez SS
Jorge López RHP