BALTIMORE—Outfielder DJ Stewart was activated by the Orioles after beginning the season on the 10-day injured list because of a strained left hamstring.
Stewart injured his hamstring in a Grapefruit League game on March 5th against Toronto in Dunedin, Florida, and hasn’t played since. He’s batting fifth and playing left field on Saturday night.
“I was actually concerned it was going to be longer,” Stewart said. “I’ve had hamstring problems before in the minor leagues, and this one felt worse than those had been. Everything on the MRIs we did didn’t show anything terrible, like a tear or anything.
“Sometimes different grades of them take a little longer. It definitely took longer than I was expecting it to. Initially, I thought it was going to be a little bit more like a week or two, but I’m just glad to get that over with and be healthy now.”
Stewart was 2-for-8 in four spring training games with two homers and four RBIs.
“When I got hurt, I was feeling really good in the box,” he said. “I came into spring training ready to go. Unfortunately, injuries are a part of it, and they’ve been plaguing me [in] recent years.”
Manager Brandon Hyde said that Stewart will play left field, right field and be the designated hitter. Hyde said that if he uses Anthony Santander as the DH, Stewart could play right.
‘I’d like to see him get as many at-bats as possible,” Hyde said. “It’s nice to add a left-handed hitter into our order. We’re pretty right-handed dominant. Historically, DJ, too has always been a high on-base guy. It’s going to be nice to plug somebody in there that … we’re having a tough time getting on base and working for walks and getting in hitters’ counts. Hopefully, DJ can bring that to the middle part of our order.”
Since the beginning of the regular season, Stewart has been training at the alternate site at Bowie.
“That was to get me adjusted to the weather with my hamstring,” Stewart said. “[I] was able to do my rehab there, get in some kind of game-like live at-bats against our own guys. We were supposed to play those games against the Nationals but, unfortunately, they got canceled this week. Just trying to simulate any game-like action that I could down there.
“Obviously, it wasn’t a game, but it was the best that we could get done, and I’m just looking forward to going out there and getting that first game under my belt.
“It’s one thing being at the alternate site. Yes, we’re facing arms, but it’s a different animal when you’re stepping into the big leagues into the big league box. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to go out and hit.”
Hyde spoke with Stewart and is convinced he’s ready.
“He feels great. He should be 100 percent, good to go,” Hyde said.
Hays update: Austin Hays was placed on the 10-day injured list because a strained right hamstring. Hays is doing well, according to Hyde.
“He’s progressing,” Hyde said. “He’s doing very well. He’s jogging today. He’s doing [batting practice]. He’s improving. He’s got to go through a whole hamstring progression, so there’s no setbacks. He’ll be with us soon enough.”
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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