Hays came off the bench Wednesday and Thursday against the Angels and was 3-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs. He was in left field last night with the Rays starting southpaw Shane McClanahan and went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer.
The splits are factoring into the lineup decisions. Hays is slashing .214/.267/.355 against right-handers and .290/.327/.536 versus lefties.
Stewart has a .203 average and .384 slugging percentage, but his 40 walks rank second on the team behind Cedric Mullins in 39 fewer games.
“It’s just getting Stew some more at-bats,” Hyde said. “I think you’ll see both of them out there together in the lineup. Just right now with the way (Anthony) Santander is swinging the bat and obviously keeping Ced in the lineup, as well as (Ryan) Mountcastle, (Trey) Mancini kind of DH/first base, I’m just kind of picking my spots with both of those guys.”
Hays is the superior defender, which also gets him into games late as a substitute.
“Stew works really hard on his defense and he’s out here almost every single day pregame and trying to improve defensively,” Hyde said. “He’s had a few misplays this year, but there’s room to get better. The team understands that and it’s something he works hard at to try to improve.”
Left-hander Bruce Zimmermann was on the field this afternoon wearing a walking boot on his sprained right ankle. He sustained the injury while working out in the weight room prior to leaving Triple-A Norfolk and rejoining the Orioles’ rotation.
Zimmermann could miss the remainder of the season. Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said recently it would be a close call.
“Maybe a start or two at the end, maybe, if he’s able to do it,” Hyde said.
Monday’s starter in Toronto is TBD, with Chris Ellis a candidate.
“We’re either going to do Ellis or somebody else,” Hyde said. “I’m not really sure yet. We’re staying on turn.”
Rosters can expand from 26 to 28 players on Wednesday, when the Orioles are wrapping up their three-game series in Toronto. Hyde said he’ll have a full taxi squad on the trip and two players probably will be chosen from it.
Twenty-three of the 26 pitches thrown last night by reliever Tanner Scott were sliders. Catcher Mike Zunino turned one into a three-run homer.
The upper-90s fastball has been kept in his holster, with 62 of his last 69 pitches tracked as sliders over the past four outings.
“Tanner’s got a ton of success with his slider, so I think upping his slider usage, we thought, was important,” Hyde said. “I think he’s taken it a little bit to the extreme the last couple times. Got to be able to show his heater, and he does have a lot of confidence in his slider.
“He’s had a few good appearances in a row and then last night wasn’t as good. With a lot of our guys, just the inconsistencies of his appearances are tough, because at times he can punch out the side, too. I think he at least needs to show his fastball, try to get his fastball in the upper part of the strike zone or above to let the slider work, but last night, for me, he just fell into a pattern.”