Leftovers for breakfast

The Orioles get Austin Hays back on the roster yesterday and lose Anthony Santander a few hours later. Two players just trying to make it through a season healthy.

Neither injury is regarded as serious. Hays had a mild right hamstring strain, Santander sprained his left ankle. Hays knew he’d go on the injured list, but wouldn’t miss much time. Santander had to be carried off the field, which suggested a possible break or torn tendon.

A sprain is cause for celebration. Especially after X-rays came back negative.

Santander has been shut down the past two Septembers with shoulder and oblique injuries. He’s expected to go on the IL this morning after X-rays and an MRI last night, with Ryan McKenna likely to replace him.

McKenna was optioned yesterday, but remained with the club.

“It was terrible, especially seeing him have to be helped off the field,” said Trey Mancini. ” I hope he’s OK and back soon. We all love Anthony so much. He’s the best guy and he’s an amazing player, too, so for many reasons we want him out there every day.”

Hays and DJ Stewart can handle right field in Santander’s absence, and McKenna is capable of playing anywhere in the outfield. Manager Brandon Hyde still has lots of flexibility on the roster.

* Mancini had two more hits, an RBI and two runs scored last night in a 7-5 win over the Marlins. He’s 5-for-10 with two doubles and a home run since striking out four times Friday night in Texas.

Conversations with hitting coach Don Long are reversing Mancini’s month.

“Don and I had a couple long talks, and it’s a lot more of a mental change, I’d say, but there are some physical changes we made and I feel like I’m staying on the ball and seeing it a lot better, especially off-speed pitches,” Mancini said.

“The first two and a half weeks of the season, I couldn’t hit one to save my life and it’s because I was out on my front side the whole time. So I had to make some adjustments, stay on my backside better, and luckily I’ve been feeling a lot better out there and the results are showing it.

“For the first 14 games it felt like 140 at times. So many ups and downs, so many different emotions. And from all of spring to the first two weeks of the season, it’s definitely been a lot, obviously my story’s gotten a lot of attention, and then you also have the baseball side of things and you’re trying to get used to being back in major league games, where the speed of the game, you can’t really replicate that. So it’s been a little bit of an adjustment period, but I’m feeling pretty good these last couple of days.”

* César Valdez looked like he was toying with the Marlins last night, striking out three of the four batters - including pitcher Pablo López, sent up to pinch-hit with two outs in the ninth because the hosts ran out of position players.

Thumbnail image for Valdez-Throws-White-Exhibition-Sidebar.jpgValdez earned his fourth save, this time in four-out fashion, and lowered his ERA to 0.96. He’s allowed one earned run (two total) with one walk and 10 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings.

Changeup after changeup after changeup. The batters know what’s coming and can’t do much about it.

“Man, it’s the best,” Mancini said. “I love every time I see him coming in from the bullpen and I love playing behind him. He’s not your conventional closer, but that doesn’t matter at all. All that goes out the window when you get results, and he makes a lot of guys look pretty silly up there sometimes and he does just a great job. He pounds the strike zone and doesn’t walk a lot of guys at all. You know you’re going to get the best from him every day. I love every time César’s on the mound.”

* The Orioles aren’t expected to make the playoffs this summer, but they’re dominating the Nationals at alternate training camp.

Take the wins where they come. Especially when prospects are prospering.

Jahmai Jones had three more hits yesterday, including his second home run, and walked twice in a 10-3 win in Fredericksburg, Va.

Jones went 2-for-3 with a home run in an April 13 win and 2-for-4 with a double in Friday night’s victory. He’s been used exclusively at second base.

Left-hander Zac Lowther allowed one run in four innings. He struck out five batters and threw 61 pitches.

Lowther will be in Triple-A Norfolk’s rotation in a couple of weeks.

Reliever Eric Hanhold keeps churning out scoreless innings. He walked a batter and struck out three yesterday.

Hanhold has registered 10 strikeouts in four hitless innings over three games.

Stevie Wilkerson had two more hits yesterday, including a two-run single. Pat Valaika had a single, double and RBI. Ryan Ripken was 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs.

The teams play again Friday afternoon in Bowie.

* Matt Harvey went 0-for-2 with a bases-loaded strikeout last night. Left-hander Bruce Zimmermann gets his turns at the plate this afternoon.

Zimmermann went 2-for-5 with an RBI, walk and two strikeouts with the Double-A Mississippi Braves in 2018.

That’s his complete hitting record going back to his collegiate days. Six plate appearances in the Southern League.

John Means nominates himself for best hitting pitcher on the team, and he’ll point to his 1.000 average. He’s 1-for-1 with a walk.

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