WASHINGTON - Orioles manager Brandon Hyde added his congratulations today to Triple-A Norfolk’s Ryan Mountcastle for winning the International League’s MVP honor. What we don’t yet know is whether Mountcastle’s hot bat will be moving later this year from the International League to the American League.
“We want to see our minor league guys do well and we’ve had a lot of bright spots in the minors this year in our system,” said Hyde. “Ryan is one of those. To do that in Triple-A at his age is really impressive. Love the progress he’s been making and hoping he finishes the season strong.
“You know, one thing we prioritized was his defense. He made some improvement at first base and now he’s getting time in left field. All the reports I’m getting is that he’s made a lot of improvements defensively as well.”
Mountcastle hit .308/.340/.528 with 32 doubles, a triple, 25 homers, 79 runs, 80 RBIs and an .869 OPS. He leads the International League in hits (153) and total bases (262), and ranks tied for second in extra-base hits (58), fourth in RBIs, eighth in slugging and is tied for 10th in home runs.
So is he a consideration for a September call-up?
“That is something in a larger conversation that Mike (Elias) would probably better answer on what guys are going to be here and what we consider,” Hyde said. “But, yeah, you want to make sure the guys you call up are ready to come here and contribute. Not just call guys up to call guys up. Obviously, being on the roster and how you maneuver the roster factors in. But I think Mike is the one to answer that one.”
The rosters can expand to as many as 40 players starting Sept. 1. You get the feeling that if the O’s call Mountcastle, he’ll get everyday reps and not come here just as a reward with an occasional start.
Mark Trumbo has joined Triple-A Norfolk tonight on a major league rehab assignment. He’s serving as the designated hitter and batting fourth at Gwinnett. Trumbo hasn’t played since homering for Norfolk on July 24. The discomfort returned to the right knee and began to restrict him in the field. He’s yet to play a single inning for the Orioles, but that could happen in September.
“We’ll see how it goes. He’s not going to be here before Sept. 1. Which day he comes, I’m not quite sure,” said Hyde.
Hyde said Hanser Alberto is a full go after leaving Sunday’s game in the fourth inning at Camden Yards with a head contusion and cervical neck strain.
“I think he could have used a breather yesterday, so having an off day worked out great,” Hyde said. “He’s pretty sore, but he got checked out yesterday and was cleared to play if we had a game yesterday. I probably would have given him a day to relax, but he feels good today and is in there.”
Hyde talked about the challenge of facing Washington - a team that is 54-26 its last 80 games - over the next two games. The Nationals are throwing lefty Patrick Corbin (10-5, 3.17 ERA) and right-hander Max Scherzer (9-5, 2.41 ERA) at the Orioles.
“Obviously, Washington is a really good club and playing extremely good baseball right now,” the skipper said. “I feel good about how we played over the weekend. We did a lot of good things well. We threw the ball and took some nice ABs the last couple of games. We’re going to face a couple of really good starters these next two days and face a hot lineup. So this will be tough.”
O’s score first: After Nats starter Patrick Corbin had allowed one run in 14 innings over his past two starts, the Orioles scored twice off him in the top of the first. Alberto led off with a single and went to second when Trey Mancini was hit by a pitch. Anthony Santander’s RBI double to left made it 1-0 and made him 6-for-6 in the last two games. Jonathan Villar’s sac fly later scored Mancini for a 2-0 edge. O’s starter Aaron Brooks fanned three after allowing a leadoff hit in a scoreless first.
Still 2-0: The O’s maintained a 2-0 lead through four as Brooks held the Nats to two hits with six strikeouts on 74 pitches.
Brooks with a gem: The O’s took a 2-0 lead to the last of the seventh when Richard Bleier replaced Brooks. Brooks tonight went six innings, allowing two hits, both singles, one walk and six strikeouts on 98 pitches. He threw a gem and now we see if the bullpen can hold on.