Manager Brandon Hyde could only share a few details on his Zoom call with the media, saying he learned late last night about the situation.
There is no minimum stay on the COVID list, which enables Akin and Santander to perhaps be reinstated in fewer than 10 days. At this point, there hasn’t been evidence whether the players tested positive, were exposed to the virus or simply are showing symptoms - like when Chris Davis had a sinus infection and cold last summer that kept him away from the club.
The Orioles already reached the 85 percent vaccination threshold but the risks don’t go away. Santander was late to summer camp last year after testing positive for COVID-19.
“You’ve seen it a few times with the league with other clubs,” Hyde said. “This is really the first time this has happened with us and it’s unfortunate, but I saw that a couple other clubs had this same sort of issue recently and ready for it to be over.”
Hyde said no extra preventative measures are necessary within the clubhouse or during travel.
“Nothing changes as of now, no,” he said. “Like I said, there’s going to be more information. This is pretty last-minute news, so there’s going to be more information as we go along, but right now we’re putting two guys on the injured list because COVID protocols and then we’ll go from there.”
The timing never is ideal, but Akin is trying to keep his spot on the roster and in the rotation. Santander missed a month after spraining his ankle on April 20 in Miami, and last night doubled twice, drove in a run for the third consecutive game and again showed signs of heating up at the plate.
Outfielder Ryan McKenna and pitcher Alexander Wells already were with the team in St. Petersburg, Fla. McKenna was optioned yesterday to Triple-A Norfolk and permitted to rejoin the active roster based on the IL move, and Wells had been on the taxi squad.
“They hadn’t left yet and so we’re bringing them back and Alex Wells is going to start today,” Hyde said.
Wells is making his third major league appearance and first start. He hasn’t allowed a run in two outings over 11 innings this month with Norfolk.
The No. 17 prospect in the system per MLBPipeline.com made his major league debut June 26 with two scoreless innings against the Blue Jays in Buffalo and allowed two runs and four hits in 2 2/3 innings on June 29 in Houston.
“Alex is throwing the ball really well in Triple-A,” Hyde said. “He did a nice job when he came up here. ... He’s going to have to be crafty, which his kind of the type of pitcher he is, a guy that’s going to use both sides of the plat and keep guys off-balance, utilizing some good off-speed stuff.
“He’s facing a lot of left-handers, a lot of switch-hitters. It’s not going to be a full right-handed lineup that he probably would face, so it’s going to be some lefties in there and he’s going to have to use the breaking ball. But really keep guys front and back, looking for some early contact and hopefully he can go deep in the game for us, keep us in the game.”
Matt Harvey’s turn falls on Sunday.
The Nationals haven’t announced their starters, but are expected to hand the ball to Patrick Corbin, Max Scherzer and Jon Lester.