The wealth of outfielders on the Orioles roster took an unfortunate and potentially serious hit tonight in the first inning.
It barely had time to evolve.
Anthony Santander appeared to roll his left ankle while getting back to the bag on an attempted pickoff throw from Marlins starter Nick Neidert. Santander jammed his foot, collapsed in the dirt and pounded a fist into it as the pain radiated through his leg.
Head athletic trainer Brian Ebel and manager Brandon Hyde lifted Santander and carried him into the dugout to avoid putting any weight on the leg. Austin Hays pinch-ran and played right field.
Hays was activated from the injured list earlier today after straining his hamstring on April 4. Santander could be headed to it, though the team hasn’t provided an update.
The bench tonight also includes Ryan Mountcastle. Hyde started DJ Stewart in left field, Cedric Mullins in center and Santander in right, and said today that it would be “fun” making out lineups with so many outfielders.
“To have four guys that you want to play, it’s a good thing,” he said. “Guys need days off, there might be some matchups that I don’t want to play somebody on that night, I’d rather play the other three, that sort of thing. But they’ll all play. The DH being in the American League is very helpful. So all these guys are going to get a ton of playing time.”
More at-bats are going to become available if Santander’s injury moves him beyond day-to-day status.
Santander has been struggling at the plate, but he lined a single into center field with one out. Stewart walked and Trey Mancini’s bloop single loaded the bases.
Ruiz had two hits in his last 25 at-bats over nine games before tonight.
Mancini launched a 422-foot home run to center field in the third to give the Orioles a 4-1 lead. He had a pinch-hit single in the 10th inning Sunday and two hits the previous night.
Galvis also homered tonight in the third inning for a 5-1 lead.
Hays made a running, leaping catch at the track to rob Brian Anderson and strand a runner in the bottom of the first. The Marlins had cut the lead to 3-1 on Miguel Rojas’ triple - Hays slipped while retrieving the ball in the corner - and Adam Duvall’s two-out single.
Santander registered his first double Sunday against the Rangers and it was the Orioles’ hardest-hit ball of the season at 112.6 mph, but he began tonight slashing .182/.217/.309 with two home runs. He drew two walks and struck out 17 times after having 10 walks and seven strikeouts in spring training.
The media chose Santander as Most Valuable Oriole last summer, though he didn’t play after Sept. 4 due to a strained oblique.
Hyde held Santander out of the last six exhibition games in March because the outfielder was experiencing some discomfort in the oblique area. Now it’s an apparent injury to the ankle that could keep him out of the lineup,
And perhaps off the active roster.
Update: Santander has a sprained left ankle. Hyde will provide more information after the game, which the Orioles lead 6-1 in the fourth.
Update II: The Orioles hung on for a 7-5 win over the Marlins. They’re 8-9 overall and 7-3 on the road.
Paul Fry struck out two batters and issued a walk in the eighth and César Valdez got the four-out save to raise his team-leading total to four. He struck out three batters and had the changeup dancing.
Harvey allowed three runs and eight hits in five innings and earned his first win since July 13, 2019 with the Angels. He walked none and struck out four.
Harvey struck out back-to-back hitters to end the third after a single and Franco error, and the Orioles increased their lead to 6-1 in the fourth on a Hays single and Stewart RBI double.
The Marlins scored twice in the fifth on three singles and a fielder’s choice grounder.
Shawn Armstrong loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the sixth and Adam Plutko replaced him. Armstrong thought he struck out Jon Berti, also disagreed with an earlier call and jawed at plate umpire Mike Muchlinski on his way to the dugout.
Two runs scored on Rojas’ single and Jesús Aguilar’s sacrifice fly. Armstrong’s ERA rose to 18.00.
Ruiz doubled again leading off the eighth and scored on Galvis’ single for a 7-5 lead.
Update III: Hyde said X-rays on Santander’s ankle were negative and didn’t show a fracture. Santander will undergo an MRI and further evaluation later tonight.
There’s no sense of how long Santander will be out.
“I’ve seen it too many times,” Hyde said. “When you think you’ve got more than you need, all of a sudden things happen. That’s why depth is so important, that’s why your minor league system is so important. One day you feel like, ‘How am I going to play everybody?’ And the next day you’re short on the bench. That’s why for me, I’m day-to-day with decisions when it comes to spring training.
“You guys always ask me about how am I ... there are so many things that can happen on a day-to-day basis in baseball. Hopefully, you’ve got a ton of depth and hopefully everybody stays healthy, but unfortunately it’s not how things work sometimes.”
Asked about Santander’s injury, Mancini said, “It was terrible, especially seeing him have to be helped off the field. 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.”
Harvey was challenged to remember his last win. He tossed out a guess that proved correct.
“It’s been a while,” he said.
“With how last year went and obviously not pitching very well and then getting a chance to come here and play, it means a lot. To be honest, I didn’t know if it was every going to happen again. I think with how I was throwing the ball in spring training and the last couple outings, there was some hope that it was coming back. It’s a good feeling. It’s been a lot of hard work put in and it means a lot to get the first one out of the way.”