Mullins gains in All-Star voting; Umpires' inspection of balls begins; Valdez goes to injured list - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Mullins gains in All-Star voting; Umpires’ inspection of balls begins; Valdez goes to injured list

BALTIMORE—Cedric Mullins moved into ninth place in the voting for outfielders on the American League All-Star team in the latest results. Mullins, who was 10th a week ago, is about 7,800 votes ahead of Tampa Bay’s Randy Arozarena.

The top nine outfielders and the leading three vote-getters at other positions advance to Phase 2 of voting. The current phase ends Thursday at 4 p.m. Phase 2 begins June 28th at noon and ends July 1st at 2 p.m.

Two other Orioles — first baseman Trey Mancini, who’s sixth, and shortstop Freddy Galvis, who’s ninth, are among the leaders.

The All-Star Game is July 13th at Denver’s Coors Field.

“We’ve got a couple of guys that are playing at an All-Star level, and it would be great to see a couple of Orioles in Denver,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said.

Santander sits: Outfielder Anthony Santander, who is still recovering from a sprained left ankle that put him to the 10-day injured list for a month, is not in the starting lineup for Monday’s game against the Houston Astros.

“We want to get him off his feet as much as possible,” Hyde said. “It’s a little bit sore, and we just want him to rest today.”

Hyde is also trying to rest another outfielder, Austin Hays, who has been on the injured list twice because of strained hamstrings.

“I give those guys credit,” Hyde said. “They want to be in the lineup. They’re asking to be in the lineup. It’s obvious that they’re playing with a little something. A lot of guys are, too. You play every day for months. Nobody feels 100 percent right now. These guys are going to be in the lineup, and I’m going to manage it as best as I can.”

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Hyde said there were no plans to put Hays or Santander on the injured list at this time.

“I want to see Anthony at his best. He’s making efforts to try to be that way. Right now, he’s a little bit sore … He comes in here super early to treat it. He’s here after the game to treat it. I think there are certain times after the game that it bites him a little bit. That’s when you see. You can tell that it’s tender. You can tell that it’s sore.

“He’s trying to fight through it right now, and I’m trying to keep him off the field as much as I can …. I just want him to feel good on the field.”

Checking pitchers: Beginning with Monday’s games, umpires will regularly check pitchers in order to ensure that they’re not applying banned foreign substances to balls.

“I’m interested to see. I have no idea,” Hyde said of his expectations. He’s never asked an umpire to check an opposing pitcher.

“You’re going to see umpires checking bullpen guys coming off the field. You’re going to see random starting pitcher checks. None of us have ever seen anything like this before. We’ll see how it goes.

“If I saw something that was pretty blatant or pretty obvious, I’d probably say something. You notice things all the time, but this is a little different .”

Hyde knows pitchers will have to change their methods.

“A lot of guys are going to have to adjust in what they’re using to get a grip on the ball. How guys react to that, I don’t know.”

Teams have received thorough explanations of the new procedures.

“I’m looking forward to a level playing field,” Hyde said. “It’s pretty clear what they expect.”

He isn’t naïve about what’s occurred in the past.

“I think it’s pretty well reported that guys for a lotta, lotta years have used things — sunscreen or pine tar to get a little bit better grip to command the ball for numerous reasons,” Hyde said. “Feeling their fingertips, etc. Now, we’re to a different point where guys were using stuff that was a little bit more aggressive than that. The league came down and said, ‘we’re not going to put up with any of it,’ and we’re just going to follow it and see how it goes.”

Valdez goes to injured list: Right-handed pitcher César Valdez was placed on the 10-day injured list because of a lower back strain, and the Orioles recalled right-hander Travis Lakins from Triple-A Norfolk.

Valdez is 2-1 with a 5.74 ERA  in 25 games. He has eight saves in 12 chances.

He had a strong start to his season with a 1.42 ERA in April but had an 11.57 ERA in May and a 7.71 ERA in June.

Lakins is 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in 21 games with the Orioles.

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