Orioles' Hyde has faith in Mountcastle; Santander not close to returning; minor leagues start Tuesday - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles’ Hyde has faith in Mountcastle; Santander not close to returning; minor leagues start Tuesday

BALTIMORE—Ryan Mountcastle enters Wednesday night’s game with just three hits in his last 35 at-bats. Mountcastle is batting seventh and is the team’s designated hitter.

Mountcastle, who hit .333 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in his first 35 major league games in 2020, is hitting just .175 with a home run and seven RBIs this season. He has struck out 27 times and walked just four times.

“Right now, I’d like to see him work through these struggles and work through a tough start,” manager Brandon Hyde said.

“That’s part of the game. That’s part of being a pro, and that’s part of being a young player is that you have to deal with adversity, and no one’s working harder right now around the league than him offensively. He knows. He’s very aware of what we feel he needs to work on, and needs to get better at.

“He’s had a little bit of bad luck along the way, too. He’s driven some balls that were caught that would change his numbers dramatically. I loved seeing him get a hit on a breaking ball last night down and away, stay on the breaking ball, get a base hit to center, so he’s showing signs of pitch recognition. Corey Kluber’s a really tough at-bat for a young player, a right-handed hitter.”

Hyde said the Orioles aren’t considering sending Mountcastle to the alternate training site at Bowie.

“We’re going to stay with him,” Hyde said. “If that crosses the line down the road, it does. Right now, I want him playing as much as possible and continue to get experience and, hopefully, he starts swinging the bat a little bit better.”

Santander not close: When rightfielder Anthony Santander sprained his left ankle in the April 20th game in Miami, the Orioles thought he’d be out two-to-four weeks. It looks like the latter.

“It’s improving. It’s a two-to-four week injury,” Hyde said. “I’m assuming it’s going to be more like four weeks because it’s a sprained ankle. He’s going to be out for a couple of weeks, and it’s going to take him a little while to come back.

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“Getting better every single day. Baseball activities haven’t started yet but, hopefully, it’s sooner rather than later.”

Armstrong’s influence: Shawn Armstrong has the most big league experience of any of the nine Oriole relievers and several have credited him with helping their adjustment to the major leagues.

“I think the most important thing about the young guys is to make sure that they’re comfortable,” Armstrong said. “As far as being a big leaguer, day-in and day-out, what it takes to come to the ballpark and be the same guy.

“We do a really good job down in the bullpen of communicating scouting reports and helping each other.”

Armstrong thinks it’s an important factor in the bullpen’s success.

“The communication aspects that we have among each other on and off the field says a lot. We’re a close group, and [that’s] not just baseball.”

Minor leagues coming: The days of the alternate site are winding down. On May 4th, the Orioles’ full-season affiliates — Triple-A Norfolk, Double-A Bowie, High-A Aberdeen and Low-A Delmarva — begin play.

Norfolk will play in the Southeast Division of the Triple-A East League; Bowie in the Southeast Division of Double-A Northeast; Aberdeen, the North Division of High-A East; and Delmarva, the North Division of Low-A East.

It’s the first action for the minor leagues since September 2019 because Covid-19 shut down the minor leagues last year.

“I’m looking forward to seeing some game reports of real minor league baseball games,” Hyde said. “And to see how our prospects and to see how our teams are doing.”

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