Mark Trumbo appears closer to an Orioles return - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Mark Trumbo appears closer to an Orioles return

BALTIMORE—Mark Trumbo has begun playing in extended spring training games in Sarasota, Fla., and manager Brandon Hyde hopes he’ll be back with the Orioles relatively soon.

Trumbo, who is on the 60-day injured list after September surgery on his right knee, had a painful incident when he was hit by pitches in the back twice in a game, according to Hyde.

“He’s progressing, doing well,” Hyde said. “He’ll start playing the field. His leg feels good. Now it’s about getting in baseball shape, getting at-bats, playing some defense to see where his leg is and [he’ll] be off on a rehab assignment pretty soon.”

Trumbo had 12 at-bats in spring training until his rehab was halted because his knee wasn’t progressing.

“I just want to do what’s best for Mark,” Hyde said. “We tried it out in spring training, and it was obvious he wasn’t ready. He needed more time, collaborate on that. He agreed with it. Taking our time with rehab. Remember, he’s coming back from a tricky injury

“We’re going to be as patient as possible with him and want to do what’s best for him. If we feel like and he feels like he’s ready to help out our club and potentially not only DH, but maybe play first or an outfield spot some nights, that would be great. I don’t want to rush him in any way. I don’t want to put him in a bad spot in anyway. I want him to have success.. I want him to feel like he’s ready when he gets here … We know that he’s going to take pro, big league at-bats. We can definitely use that.”

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Adding a reliever: After Sunday’s game, the Orioles optioned Yefry Ramirez, who started for Triple-A Norfolk. They selected the contract of right-hander Josh Lucas to replace him.

Lucas, who was with the Orioles for nine days last month, had a 4.15 ERA in three games. At Norfolk, Lucas is 0-1 with a 4.70 ERA in six games.

He was optioned to the Tides on April 20 and designated for assignment two days later. When he cleared waivers, Lucas was assigned outright to Norfolk, and he says he’s a bit surprised to return.

“I didn’t know what was going on, what the situation was going to be,” Lucas said. He pointed out that both Tanner Scott and Evan Phillips were already on the 40-man roster, but Phillips wasn’t eligible to be recalled until Tuesday because he hasn’t been with Norfolk the required 10 days.

“I thought they’d be the first option, but glad to be back.”‘

To make room for Lucas on the 40-man roster, pitcher Nate Karns (forearm) was transferred from the 10-day to 60-day injured list. Karns is not eligible to return until June 8.

“He was not going to come back within the 60,” Hyde said. “Had that roster spot open. Shouldn’t be too much longer after that, but we just didn’t see him coming back before then.”

Villar gets a rest: Jonathan Villar has played in each of the Orioles’ first 46 games, but he wasn’t in the starting lineup for Monday night’s game against the Yankees.

Villar, who’s batting .251 with five home runs and 19 RBIs, is the club leader with nine stolen bases. He’s been the leadoff hitter 37 times, and will be replaced there by Hanser Alberto, who’s starting there for the first time this season and the second time in his career.

“He hasn’t taken the at-bats that I would like,” Hyde said. “I just wanted to give him a blow.”

Dealing with slumps: With only 12 position players, Hyde doesn’t always have the options available to put together the lineup he wants.

In Monday’s lineup were Renato Nunez, who is 6-for-68 (.088) since April 26, and Dwight Smith Jr., 3-for-25 (.120) in his last six games. Chris Davis, who is 4-for-29 (.138) against New York starter J.A. Happ, sat out.

Davis is also 4-for-29  in his last eight games.

“It’s not like we have a ton of veteran at-bats,” Hyde said. “It makes it challenging … every hitter goes through it, every guy has tough moments throughout the season. You try to stick with them. You try to find the right time to rest guys or bump guys down or bump guys up in the lineup.

“You do your best to try to get the guys that you think have the best opportunity against that starter the most at-bats. In our situation, sometimes it’s challenging, but we’re doing the best we can.”

Minor matters: Bowie left-hander Zac Lowther was named the Eastern League’s Pitcher of the Week. Lowther was 2-0 and threw 12 2/3 scoreless innings with 15 strikeouts in two starts last week.

The Baysox released right-handed pitcher Lucas Long, who had been in the organization since 2014.

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