SARASOTA, Fla. - When the Orioles take the field at Ed Smith Stadium tomorrow afternoon versus Toronto, Mark Trumbo will play in a game for the first time since last Aug. 19 and the first time since his knee surgery in September.
Trumbo didn’t play after that August game in Cleveland and underwent surgery on this right knee the following month, a relatively new procedure for a cartilage defect known as DeNovo. It’s a juvenile cartilage implant from a donor that’s packed into the opening and requires time to harden.
He’s been running, hitting and getting ready to join his teammates in a game here at spring training, and that finally happens for him on Wednesday when the Orioles host the Blue Jays at 1:05 p.m.
Trumbo will deisgnated hitter in that game, and we’ll see if they play him in the field at some point after that.
“We’ll give it a shot tomorrow,” he said this afternoon before the Orioles’ game in Tampa with the Yankees tonight. “Responded well to two days of the baserunning we tried, so there’s really not anything left except going out there and getting in a game. It will be nice to get the at-bats and run the bases under game stress. We’ve done as much as we can. At some point you have to get out there and see what you’ve got. If it responds like it has so far we should be good to go, if it doesn’t then we’ll deal with it.”
Trumbo said he’s passed all the tests he’s put himself through so far. He estimated he has taken about 20 at-bats in simulated games.
“So far, it’s been a pretty decent spring from a hitting standpoint. I haven’t been limited at all,” he said. “Got to face Alex (Cobb) the other day and took five at-bats against him. Took some against Jimmy (Yacabonis), Cash (Andrew Cashner), Dylan (Bundy). These are quality pitchers that can give you a better look than batting practice.”
Trumbo might like to have more than the remaining 15 spring games to get ready.
“Ideally, more would be great, but that’s all we’ve got,” he said.
Trumbo also admitted there still be could some mental hurdles to pass when coming back from such an extensive surgery.
“There is probably going to be still a ways to go, especially defensively,” said Trumbo, who hit .261/.313/.452 with 17 homers and 44 RBIs in 90 games last season. “I trust it enough, I think, right now. But there’s probably going to be a little bit of apprehension at times. Just because what I went through was kind of major. So I think you just have to trust that the operation was a success and that the body is ready to handle it.”
As he enters the final year of his Orioles contract, he’s excited now to join his teammates on the field in spring for the first time.
“Oh, yeah. I think we’ve been really impressive in virtually all aspects so far,” he said. “Especially the bats. Lot of guys having great camps and you watch from the sidelines and wonder how soon you can be a part of it, so tomorrow is pretty special.”