Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said Ryan Mountcastle is more comfortable “playing in the dirt,” and he’ll get that opportunity Saturday against the Texas Rangers.
After starting six games in left field and eight as the designated hitter, Mountcastle is making his 2021 season debut at first base in the second game of the series. Mountcastle has been taking ground balls at first base for the past week, and he was excited when Hyde gave him the news.
“Ryan has played the infield his whole life,” Hyde said. “First base is not an easy position to play even though everybody thinks it is. There’s a lot of intricacies that go along with playing first base. So, it’s not easy to do. But for someone who has played in the infield, it’s a little easier. I know that Ryan is more comfortable playing in the dirt.”
Last season, Mountcastle started nine games at first and committed one error in 55 chances.
Trey Mancini, who has started 13 games at first base this season, took over as the designated hitter and was moved down to fifth in the order Saturday. Mountcastle leads the team with 19 strikeouts and Mancini is second with 18 after striking out in all four at-bats in Friday’s 5-2 victory over the Rangers.
Mancini missed last season after undergoing colon cancer surgery in March 2020.
“He has not seen major league pitching in over a year. It’s not easy to do,” Hyde said about Mancini. “I just want him to relax and have at-bats. I just want him to relax and be himself.”
Hays back early next week
Austin Hays is poised to rejoin the Orioles on Tuesday against the Marlins.
The Orioles’ outfielder has not played since April 4th in Boston when he strained a hamstring diving back into second base on a bloop single by Cedric Mullins that initially appeared to be caught.
Hays has played in games at the alternate training site in Bowie and there have not been any setbacks.
“He’s progressed very well,” Hyde said. “He’s played the last couple of days and he’s checked all of the boxes from a health standpoint.”
Galvis heating up
Shortstop Freddy Galvis agreed with manager Brandon Hyde that some of the Orioles hitters are pressing.
The offense has been mostly uneven, Friday night against the Rangers. The Orioles got off to a quick start and had seven hits, including a homers by Rio Ruiz and DJ Steward in the 5-2 victory. However, they went down in order in their last 14 at-bats.
Galvis managed a triple and a double for his first mult-ihit game since August 3, 2019, against the Blue Jays. He’s hoping the hitters can relax and become more productive.
“I think the way we tried to do stuff early in the season, we had a good series against Boston and then we went cold a little bit, and then we tried to do too much,” Galvis said. “We tried to hit the homer, we tried to get the RBI, and maybe there was a little pressure that we put on ourselves to try to do it. It’s just a matter of trying to let it go, try to stay with the plan … It’s just like 15 games so far, something like that. We have a lot of games to go. We have to relax a little bit and play baseball.”
Galvis will make his 15th start at shortstop Saturday against the Rangers and he’s been solid defensively. The switch-hitter is making adjustments at the plate and has four hits in his last 10 at-bats to raise his average to .200.
“I think it’s trying to get on top of the baseball right now, something we’ve been working on the last few days,” Galvis said. “I think I was having a little trouble with fastballs. Right now, trying to stay short to the ball, trying to make a good swing and trying to get good contact, and it’s working so far. It’s working. Just keep working and trying to get better every day.”