Santander's injury changes dynamic of Orioles' outfield - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Santander’s injury changes dynamic of Orioles’ outfield

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Austin Hays had been activated from the 10-day injured list for Tuesday’s game in Miami. However, he wasn’t in the starting lineup and, although he hoped to play, he didn’t think it would be in the first inning.

The game’s second batter, Anthony Santander, singled to center but was forced to leave the game with what turned out to be a sprained left ankle. Santander rolled his ankle trying to get back to first base on a pickoff attempt by Marlins starter Nick Neidert. Santander fell to the ground and had to supported by manager Brandon Hyde and athletic trainer Brian Ebel when he left the field.

“It was a little quicker than I had anticipated,” Hays said Wednesday. “Obviously, I was never thinking there’d be an injury on the field. Just because it is National League play, I figured I would probably get in the game at some point, the fifth inning or later, a pinch-hit, going in on defense, something along those lines because of the nature of National League baseball.”

Santander’s injury changed Hays’ night and the dynamic of the Orioles’ outfield.

“You never want to see something like that happen,” Hays said. “It was early in the game, and I felt like I was still pretty loose from some of the cage work I had done before. I just tried to run a couple of sprints down the side to make sure my legs were good, and I would be able to score on a hit.”

Hyde hasn’t had to juggle playing time for his five primary outfielders — Hays, Santander, Ryan Mountcastle, Cedric Mullins and DJ Stewart.

Mullins, who has established himself as the team’s leadoff man and centerfielder, started the first 17 games of the season. Santander started 15 of the first 17 in right. Mullins didn’t start on Wednesday against left-hander Trevor Rogers but was used as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning of the Orioles’ 3-0 loss to the Marlins.

All but Santander, a Rule 5 pick, are products of the Orioles’ farm system. Although they know each other well, they hadn’t been a part of the same Orioles’ outfield.

Last year, Hays missed a month because of a rib injury. By the time he returned in mid-September, Mountcastle had joined the team for the first time, and Santander had sustained a season-ending oblique injury.

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Hyde said it’s likely Santander will be out two-to-four weeks because of the ankle sprain. Another outfielder drafted by the Orioles, Ryan McKenna, who played right field on Wednesday, replaced him on the roster.

“I understand we have a lot of great outfielders,” Hays said. “Guys that can play defense, guys that can hit. That’s all you can ask [from an] organizational standpoint, to have a lot of depth in the outfield. It’s up to the manager and the GM to make those decisions.

“It’s not our job. Our job is just to show up to the field and be ready to play, under any circumstance, any position. Wherever that finds me, whether it’s late in games, starting games. As long as I can get out on the field and help the team win, I’m here for it.”

McKenna, who had established himself as a useful defensive replacement and pinch-running option, was promoted to the major leagues for the first time on April 5th when Hays went on the injured list because a strained right hamstring. McKenna had been returned to the alternate training site roster but stayed with the team on its taxi squad.

Before Tuesday night’s game, Hyde didn’t appear to be concerned about a possible surplus of outfielders.

“Guys need days off, there might be some matchups that I don’t want to play somebody on that night, I’d rather play the other three, that sort of thing,” Hyde said. “But they’ll all play. The DH being in the American League is very helpful. So all these guys are going to get a ton of playing time.”

In the Miami series, the Orioles were without a designated hitter. Hays and Mountcastle didn’t start on Tuesday night. Stewart, another left-handed hitter, didn’t play on Wednesday.

“Depth is at a premium,” Hyde said before Wednesday’s game. “We have more depth than we’ve had in the past couple of years, but injuries happen. Sprained ankles happen. Tony will be back. I was just really pleased with the results that we got this morning because when I went out there, I was thinking the worst.

“Seeing him this morning, him feeling good about it only being a sprained ankle feels good for everybody because he’s a huge part of our team. Now, it’s time for other guys to get opportunity, pick up the slack, be a run producer for us, but I like the guys we’ll be putting in there in his spot.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Birdman

    April 22, 2021 at 7:34 am

    Enjoy watching Hays’ exciting style of play … great arm in the outfield and aggressive on the base paths.

    • Orioles20

      April 22, 2021 at 8:23 am

      I agree but with his injury history I don’t think his body can handle it. He might need to slow it down some.

    • CalsPals

      April 22, 2021 at 10:08 am

      Scared me in his first game back when he slide into the wall, looked awkward…go O’s…

  2. Orioles20

    April 22, 2021 at 8:26 am

    I hope they don’t platoon these guys. You have to truly see what you have in these guys. Guys like Santander and Mountcastle we know they are good players. Hays and Stewart we don’t know because they can’t stay healthy and in Stewart’s case is inconsistent. And with Diaz going to be ready here soon there needs to be clarity about guys like Stewart. Based on the box scores from the alternate site Diaz and Jones have been hitting. I don’t know how much longer the orioles can keep running out the guys that can’t make the appropriate adjustments.

  3. Orial

    April 22, 2021 at 8:42 am

    As mentioned Mullins sat yesterday against a lefty. With a day off today(Thurs) was that necessary? Or was it because he’s showing signs of cooling off a wee bit? Diaz doesn’t seem ready(does he ever?) so when the next OFer goes down(almost inevitable) who comes up? Minor League baseball can’t start soon enough so we can start evaluating the future talent(Diaz ready?) Coming HOME to play a red hot Oakland–God help us. Side note: please get the young IFers developed. This “mud-pile” we’ve had at 2B,SS,3B for years is getting ridiculous. Thanks AGAIN for letting me vent.

    • CalsPals

      April 22, 2021 at 10:11 am

      Any time, you guys let me do it, it does get frustrating & contrary to what some people think, our level of fandom here is quite invested, not just bandwagon fans…go O’s…

  4. Bhoffman1

    April 22, 2021 at 10:19 am

    Hays plays to hard for his body the head first slide into second base I didn’t know if he would get up. Trout plays the same but is built like a bulldog. Rich mentioned they don’t want to bring Diaz up until he can stay not for a sort stint. Well if Santander is out 4 weeks to me that’s not a short stint. He’s more of a all around player especially a hitter then McKenna at this stage but I’m no Mike Elias. If Adley is not here by the beginning of June then I will be really disappointed in Elias

    • Bhoffman1

      April 22, 2021 at 10:20 am

      Sorry I meant the beginning of July

    • Rich Dubroff

      April 22, 2021 at 10:21 am

      Bruce, you’re going to be really disappointed in Mike Elias.

    • Beachdogs

      April 22, 2021 at 10:32 am

      I think it is time to bring up Austin Wynn and part ways with Severino. At best we may see Adley in September

    • CalsPals

      April 22, 2021 at 10:46 am

      Catching, the QB of the defense is fugly for the O’s…totally agree to bring up Austin, trade Severino for ANYONE…ball boy, statistician…it would be worth it…go O’s…

    • Icterus fan

      April 22, 2021 at 12:35 pm

      “Bruce, your going to be really disappointed in Mike Elias”
      Instant classic!

    • Bhoffman1

      April 22, 2021 at 4:43 pm

      You need to speak to PJ man before you trade Sevy. Look Sisco can’t even bunt anymore but he handles the pitchers better then Severino. You need a lot upstairs to be a good catcher. I won’t say anything more

    • Shamus

      April 22, 2021 at 7:11 pm

      I saw Rick Dempsey on TV with Tom Davis. He’s in town

  5. BarstoolSleeper

    April 22, 2021 at 11:11 am

    Diaz was on the taxi squad for Miami series. Maybe he’s closer than we thought? I thought they’d play him in AAA because he’s never played above AA. With 5 outfielders already in the majors, why rush Diaz and start his clock?

    • Bhoffman1

      April 22, 2021 at 4:45 pm

      Because he’s a better player then McKenna now and some fans want the O’s to win now and don’t care about rushing the clock

    • BarstoolSleeper

      April 22, 2021 at 8:27 pm

      The Os aren’t built to win right now. Period. End of sentence.

    • CalsPals

      April 22, 2021 at 8:57 pm

      Not with their major league roster, almost be willing to bet their minor league all star team could beat them though…go O’s…

    • Bhoffman1

      April 22, 2021 at 10:34 pm

      That’s because fans like you accept losing season after season

    • BarstoolSleeper

      April 23, 2021 at 7:12 am

      Yeah bhoff, how could I forgot fans like me have complete power over personnel decisions and handing out contracts to free agents? What are you talking about?

    • Icterus fan

      April 23, 2021 at 8:24 am

      “Fans like you accept losing season after season”? What choice do we have? We’re not working alongside the Angelos family making baseball decisions. I guess if you don’t like the product on the field, then stop buying tickets, watching MASN, buying orioles schlock etc. Hit them in the wallet, if that’s your thing.
      However, if that is successful, you’ll only drive the team out of state eventually.

  6. NormOs

    April 22, 2021 at 12:21 pm

    Would it make any sense to put Mullins in Left and Hays in Center only because Hays has the stronger arm, not because he’s a better outfielder than Cedric? Also, what’s with the days off? Even if the WS goes 7 games, those teams still get THREE MONTHS VACATION. Anybody on this site get 3 months vacation a year that you’re able to take all at once or does anyone even get 3 months a year? One last thing, my faith, again, is renewed in the DH after watching pitchers trying to hit in Miami…..REDICULOUS!

    • CalsPals

      April 22, 2021 at 12:26 pm

      Makes sense about center, agree, they’re supposed to be professional athletes, can’t do it, puts what Ripken did in totally crazy light now…go O’s…

  7. Camden82

    April 22, 2021 at 11:01 pm

    Does this open the door for a possible Puig signing?

    • Icterus fan

      April 23, 2021 at 6:09 am

      Good grief I really hope not. Here’s a guy who’s bounced around, been a head case and a generally flaky team mate.
      Just say no.
      Give the baby birds a chance. We’re not competing this year anyway. Why lose with him on the team?

    • CalsPals

      April 23, 2021 at 7:19 am

      Agree, we don’t need to add his dysfunction to the squad…go O’s…

    • Rich Dubroff

      April 23, 2021 at 9:35 am

      Puig signed with a Mexican League team this week.

    • CalsPals

      April 23, 2021 at 10:03 am

      Perfect…go O’s…

  8. ptmt86

    April 23, 2021 at 1:56 am

    Wow! Positive feedback. Glad I was part of the ’66 O’s fan base. I’ve seen a positive impact watching Mike Elias and the rebuild. Next? Pitching. As Earl Weaver once said.
    “The key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals, and three run homers.”

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