SARASOTA, Fla.—A week remains before Opening Day at Yankee Stadium, and the Orioles don’t know if Mark Trumbo is going to be ready to play.
Trumbo had surgery on his right knee last September. Since returning to the lineup on March 13, he’s 2-for-10 (.200) with a walk.
He was not in the lineup for Thursday’s game in Bradenton. Manager Brandon Hyde said Trumbo would start at designated hitter Friday against Toronto in Dunedin.
“We’re still going on how he feels day-to-day, and that’s going to be probably an end-of-the-camp decision,” Hyde said about Trumbo’s availability for the season opener.
“We’d like for him to be comfortable and for him to feel like he’s fully healthy and his legs are underneath him.”
Trumbo has typically been taken out after two at-bats, hitting three times just once.
“It’s a wait-and-see because the injury is so tricky and he’s done so well from the tough surgery,” Hyde said. “Credit goes to him for coming back… He’s ahead of schedule. Still haven’t made a decision on it.”
The Orioles could use Renato Nunez in place of Trumbo at DH if he begins the season on the injured list.
Hyde, Trumbo and head athletic trainer Brian Ebel regularly confer on the slugger’s progress.
“…[We] talk through what the next four or five days look like and then we readjust after a game played,” Hyde said.
“We just want to do what’s best for him. I want him to be healthy. I want him for the long run, and not the short sprint at the start of the season. I want the best Mark Trumbo. If that’s him [starting with the team], then it is. If it’s not, and he waits a few weeks, whatever his timetable is, then it will be then. That’s why we’re not in any hurry to make any decision on it.”
While the Orioles wait on Trumbo, they’ll have to make a decision Friday on catcher Jesus Sucre, who must be added to the 40-man roster. If Sucre isn’t put on the roster, then he can opt out of his minor league contract and elect free agency as infielder Alcides Escobar did on Wednesday.
Sucre, who reported to camp late because of visa issues in his native Venezuela, has played in six games, batting .250 (3-for-12).
Austin Wynns’ sore left oblique, which has caused him to miss more than two weeks, has helped Sucre’s chances.
“I think he’s got a good shot to make the team,” Hyde said. “I’ve been playing him every other day. He went down and took a bunch of minor league at-bats a couple of days ago to try and catch up.”
Chance Sisco has an excellent shot to make the team. Carlos Perez, who has struggled defensively, and Andrew Susac remain in camp.
Hyde praised Sucre on Thursday.
“He’s catching great,” he said. “He throws great. He does a really nice job behind the plate. He’s a major league veteran.”
Although it appears likely Sucre will start the season on the Orioles’ 25-man roster, Hyde isn’t guaranteeing anything.
“We still have a bunch of things to sort through there,” he said.