Orioles bring back DJ Stewart, who suffers concussion after being hit by fly ball - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles bring back DJ Stewart, who suffers concussion after being hit by fly ball

Photo Credit: Joy R. Abasalon

BALTIMORE—DJ Stewart suffered a freak injury when he was was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on May 28. In his seventh game, a nasty collision in foul territory with Hanser Alberto sent him to the 10-day injured list on June 6 with a sprained right ankle.

On Tuesday night, in his first game back with the Orioles, he suffered another freak injury. Stewart was pursuing a short fly ball in left field when he appeared to slip on the wet grass and went down. He lost sight of the ball and was hit in the head.

There was a welt near the temple area when he took off his hat, but he was allowed to finish the inning in the outfield, although he appeared to be in a lot of discomfort. Jace Peterson pinch-hit for Stewart in the bottom of the inning.

After Stewart hurt the ankle, it took time for the injury to heal, and he was optioned to Norfolk on July 14. With Dwight Smith Jr. on the injury list with a strained left calf, Stewart returned to the Orioles on Tuesday and was in the starting lineup.

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The Orioles said after the game that Stewart has a concussion. Before the game, Stewart talked about recovering from the ankle injury and being back with the Orioles.

“The ankle is good,” Stewart said before a rainstorm delayed the start of the game by more than an hour. “I think it’s recovered 100 percent. There’s some aches and pains, but that’s anything with a chronic injury. I’ve done it before so it’s just something I have to deal with.”

In seven games with the Orioles, Stewart was batting .167 (4-for 24). At Norfolk, Stewart hit .286 with 12 home runs and 46 RBIs.

The ankle injury was frustrating. “It was difficult. The ankle has limited me a little bit,” he said. “It’s something I just have to work through and know that it’s a process.”

He probably would have been back earlier had the team not been in need of additional bullpen arms.

“We were playing short, position player-wise,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Adding DJ gives us another player. We’re pretty beat up. We’ve got a lot of nagging things. A lot of guys are playing through stuff.”

In May, Stewart batted .432 in 23 games with five homers and 28 RBIs for the Tides.

“May was something unbelievable,” Stewart said. “A special month for me. That’s hard to do. I’m not expecting myself to be there, but obviously I would like to.

“One day you can feel terrible, and the next day there’s one thing that can click for you, and that’s how it was in May for me.”

When Stewart was initially called up, Hyde said he would get an extended trial, but the injury forced a change in plans.

“DJ’s here, and he’s going to get a lot of playing time,” Hyde said. “He was playing well before he got hurt, look forward to adding him to the roster

“I’m going to rotate those guys. They’re all going to play. It’s that time of year where guys need breaks and rest. I haven’t rested people, so DJ’s going to get a lot of playing time.”

While Stewart was hurt, Anthony Santander got regular playing time, and he’s produced. Stewart is hoping that happens for him, too.

“Everyone wants an opportunity to play every day and perform to our best ability,” Stewart said. “I’m happy for him. He deserves it. He’s worked his tail off in Triple-A.”

Stewart got the call ahead of Austin Hays, who’s hitting. .225 at Norfolk. It helps that he’s left-handed like Smith, but he doesn’t have much experience playing center field.

Hyde doesn’t’ expect Stewart to play center. He’s in the lineup, batting seventh and playing left in Tuesday’s game.

“I’m always confident,” Stewart said. “I believe in myself. I know the work that I put in every single day. I’m confident whether I get no hits or whether I get four hits.”

Stewart is one of a number of players likely to get significant time during the season’s final weeks.

“Everyone is aware of the situation that we’re in,” Stewart said. “Whether you’re a younger guy or an older guy. Everyone’s going to get their opportunities and trying to make the most of them.

“We’re a little bit different, in a unique situation with us rebuilding,” Stewart said. “There are opportunities for young guys. No one’s oblivious to it. We know what we’re facing.”

Hyde said that Smith could go on a rehab assignment next week when the Orioles are on the road.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Bhoffman1

    August 6, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    I like that he’s here again but I feel bad for Mason Williams. The guys hitting great at Norfolk is a centerfielder and he’s just one of those guys that never really got an extended look. With Hays and Diaz in the background I hope he catches on with another team next year. What’s your take Rich.

    • Camden Brooks

      August 6, 2019 at 7:24 pm

      Agree 100%.

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 6, 2019 at 8:30 pm

      Bruce, I’m a bit surprised that with his stats and the number of players tried that he didn’t get a sniff. One of the problems is that he was a minor league free agent, and the Orioles don’t have anything invested in him as they do with Hays, Diaz, Stewart and Ryan McKenna. It’s harder, but not impossible for those guys to get a look. He certainly should get a job next year somewhere though he’ll probably have to go to camp as a minor league free agent.

      • Borg

        August 7, 2019 at 7:38 am

        But he already has major league credentials (.289 average). So instead of that they continue to play Stevie in CF. Why? He’s nothing more than a combination of Rickard and Flaherty and while it might be great to have somebody like that on the bench when you are contending, why wouldn’t you get an actual outfielder up here and see what he brings to the table. If they really don’t have future plans for Williams, and it certainly appears that they don’t, the smart move would have been to recall him in late June or early July, play him, hope he did well, then flip him for a prospect to a contender needing OF help. But then I guess they’d be losing their awesome emergency closer.

        • Orial

          August 7, 2019 at 8:10 am

          Love the Stevie comparison–Rickard/Flaherty.

  2. Ekim

    August 6, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    All we, as fans, can do is hope that someone steps up. I’ve never bought into the “hype” that’s preceded Stewart ever since he was drafted. I guess it “goes with the territory” as a number one pick. I just hope that if he continues on the path he was on (average .167) they don’t keep playing him like they did with Mullins. I’m in tune with Bhoffman1 about Mason Williams. He’s produced right from the beginning of the season. Just saying…

    • Jbigle1

      August 7, 2019 at 3:18 am

      Odds are neither one of them is a big league regular but I think Stewart has a better shot at this point in time. . I always see this crap about DJ being so hyped too. If either of the two were overhyped it would’ve been Mason Williams was a consensus top 50 prospect in baseball at one point in time. He just wasn’t an orioles prospect so I guess it’s a home team bias.

      DJS was a first rounder; sometimes they don’t go your way. It’s part of the game. He wasn’t ever an elite prospect and if he was “hyped” that was only by Orioles fans or someone who covers the team. Probably has a lot to do with how awful our farm system has been as well. Because he certainly never was nationally…

      • Borg

        August 7, 2019 at 7:43 am

        Williams major league stat line is .289, .325 OBP, .396 SLG, .721 OPS-limited ABs (187) but still a track record suggesting he could be successful here. Instead, they go through Mullins, Rickard, Braxton, Wilkerson, etc. out there who can’t even hit their weights. I on’t get it.

  3. cb

    August 6, 2019 at 10:35 pm

    I think the last time I saw an outfielder get hit on the head with a batted ball was when Canseco got nailed and the ball bounced off his head and into the seats for a homerun.

  4. Ekim

    August 7, 2019 at 12:20 am

    As long as you mentioned tonight’s (August 6) game, can anyone give me any reason why Hess is still with this team? 27 home runs in 74 innings! He almost makes Straily look good. And… his career ML record… 4-20. Is he related to the Angelos family? Just saying…

    • Bhoffman1

      August 7, 2019 at 8:27 am

      Because rather then give some kids at Bowie a chance or even bring up Harvey and get the fans a little excited Elias really has no plans for winning the next two years and rather play terrible pitchers not just Hess but all the waiver pick ups. Brooks, Wojo, 85 MPH Escelman , they are all not ML pitchers

    • ClayDal

      August 7, 2019 at 9:23 am

      As far as the AA pitchers ( Wells, Lowther, Bauman, and Kremer) only Kremer has to be added to the 40 man roster this winter. The other 3 don’t have to be added until the winter of 2020. So they don’t want to shave a year off their development by bringing them up now. Surprised that they haven’t gotten a shot at AAA yet. As for Harvey he is still adjusting to Norfolk. I think they want him to make it through a season healthy for a change. Next year will be the last year they can keep him in the minors before he runs out of options. What’s baffling is why so many pitchers who have been riding the shuttle this year haven’t taken advantage of the opportunity. Tanner Scott, Kline, Phillips, Jimmy Yac have all shown they have good arms, but no consistent command. As to why Hess is around, fresh arm and lack of alternatives. He should be back on the shuttle soon

      • Jbigle1

        August 7, 2019 at 12:24 pm

        Exactly this. We aren’t going to clog up the 40 man or start the arb clock on guys like Baumann, Lowther, or Kremer yet. We’ll see Kremer in 2020 but I’d say that’s the only lock. Lowther and Baumann with strong starts to the season, would certainly have a good shot of getting the call next year as well.

        But the fact that Wells or Lowther haven’t seen AAA could mean 1 of two things. Bowie is closer to Camden Yards and maybe it easier for the decision makers to take a long look at those two. Or it could mean we’re bringing them along slowly.

        We have to add Cody Sedlock, Akin and Kremer to the 40 man this offseason. Those are the only locks for pitchers. But we need to add Brett Cumberland, Mountcastle, McKenna, and Diaz. Pedro Araujo as well if we intend on keeping him. That’s 7 or 8 guys who need to be added to a currently full 40 man.

        Guys like Aaron Brooks, Shepherd, Jace Peterson, etc. are fairly obvious cuts but we don’t have that much flexibility as far as calling up guys who don’t need to be protected. You’re going to see quite a few familiar faces get axed this offseason because we only have 1 free agent (and Villar in all likelihood) coming off the 40 man. That’s 7-8 spots needing to be cleared assuming we don’t sign any major league free agents. Which I would say is highly unlikely. I’d expect we sign a backend SP to eat innings or possibly an all glove SS to fill that hole next year.

  5. Shamus

    August 7, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    DJ. Is another DH on this team…. all hit, no glove… I too hope Hyde is still around when we turn the corner

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