Orioles' Mountcastle returns as Mancini sits down because of calf injury; Gonzalez talks fundamentals - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles’ Mountcastle returns as Mancini sits down because of calf injury; Gonzalez talks fundamentals

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Ryan Mountcastle’s return from the concussion injured list comes just as Trey Mancini drops out of the Orioles’ lineup because of a calf injury. Mancini fouled a ball off his calf and foot in the eighth inning of Monday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Manager Brandon Hyde said that Mancini was day-to-day. “His calf was really sore when he woke up this morning, and he got treatment on it this afternoon,” Hyde said. “Still really sore, so hopefully he’ll be in there tomorrow. We’ll see.”

Mountcastle has been cleared to play after the was tagged in the head on an attempted steal on August 6th and suffered a concussion. Outfielder Ryan McKenna was sent to Triple-A Norfolk when Mountcastle was activated.

“Excited to have Ryan back. He passed everything yesterday from the league and the union and our medical people,” Hyde said. “He’s ready to go. Happy to have him back there tonight.”

McKenna has spent most of the season with the Orioles, subbing while Mountcastle, Austin Hays and Anthony Santander have been out because of injury. He has played 63 games with the Orioles, hitting .208 with a homer and six RBIs. His defense and baserunning have made the most difference.

“It’s a tough one because we like Mac so much,” Hyde said. “The important thing for Mac is he needs to play every day. When we sent him out before with that same idea, then we had something happened when he stayed on the roster. He’s done a great job on the roster in the role that he’s in. I think Mac’s got big upside.”

The Orioles have nine relievers and just three bench players.

“In our situation, the way our roster is, we felt like the more important thing for him was to go down and get as many at-bats as possible, and he’ll be back here soon.

“I really like what he brings from the defense. I like the competitiveness of his at-bats, the baserunning aspect. When we did have leads, how he defends for us late, a lot of good things from Mac.”


Fundamentals first: Fredi Gonzalez, who is in his second season with the Orioles, is the team’s unofficial bench coach. Gonzalez, who managed 10 seasons with Miami and Atlanta, says he’s a “sounding board” for Hyde, but he has recently added a new responsibility, as the self-appointed fundamentals guru.

“If it’s a cutoff and relay that’s not done well, I’ll break it down and make sure we go over it the next day,” Gonzalez said. “If there’s a bunt defense that doesn’t go well, we go over it the next day.”

Gonzalez also goes over rules with the players.

“Sometimes we forget that these guys play the game, but they don’t know the rules,” Gonzalez said. “We pick up a rule every couple of days.”

Gonzalez and Hyde think it’s important because so many Orioles are new to the major leagues or to the organization, and many are learning new positions. Both mentioned Jorge Mateo, a natural shortstop who’s often played second base, as someone who’s getting special attention.

“I just think it’s something we’ve hammered for three years,” Hyde said. “In our meetings, that’s an area that Fredi takes over. We go over it collectively and any fundamental mistake we make collectively, we show it on a video. We talk through it just because we have a lot of moving pieces on our roster.

“There’s a lot of teaching that’s happening on a daily basis. Pre-series meeting, we go over fundamentals that we make mistakes on from the previous series. We go over that as a group. We show that, but also day-to-day, making sure we’re in the right spots.”

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  1. CalsPals

    August 17, 2021 at 5:51 pm

    Glad to hear there is teaching going on daily, watching the defense I wouldn’t have guessed that…Mountcastle back, Mancini out, just can’t win…go O’s…

  2. CalsPals

    August 17, 2021 at 7:05 pm

    Happy 80th b-day to Boog Powell…go O’s…

  3. CalsPals

    August 17, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    Unfortunately Meansy looking like the $600,000 man, again…go O’s…

    • The Bird1

      August 17, 2021 at 9:04 pm

      I wonder if they can teach pitching and hitting while they are at it. lol

    • Icterus fan

      August 17, 2021 at 9:09 pm

      Means threw the ball extremely well into the 4th, but where’s the help? No offense, lack of skills on defense, little synergy and they can’t help Means out at all. He got no support.

      Were a vanilla team who is overmatched and getting the tar beat out of us city after city.

      Conversely the Rays are a young bunch of hustlers. They play hard and have talent throughout. Their bullpen is fearsome.

      I take heart in the notion that we may develop into a similar team “soon”.

      Still watching cuz it’s my team.

      • foodman

        August 18, 2021 at 9:30 am

        “Vanilla” is being kind. Boring, lifeless, uninteresting, etc. is more like it. I stopped watching this “ML baseball team” on Saturday afternoon. When Jorge Lopez uncorked that wild pitch at Fenway and got a fortunate bounce and then uncorked another one right after, that was it for me. He just stood there with a little kind of half grin on his face and I turned it off in disgust. Ironically, and even worse, predictably, I knew Devers was going to hit a HR. My only error was I thought it was going to be a grand slam but Lopez’ WP took care of that.
        Now, about hustle. Franco, Santander, Severino, Stewart….remind me of David Ortiz from the Red Sox. Why run when the ball is hit to the pitcher or the second baseman. It’s only NINETY FEET and you’re getting paid to do that…that’s why!!!
        And, I know I’m going to get some blowback on this one. I never considered John Means to be anything but what he is showing us now. He is, at best, a fifth or sixth or seventh starter on a really middling team. I know on the O’s he’s the ace. I’m sure he’s a nice fellow, etc., but he doesn’t have the stuff for a long term successful career in the ML. Just my opinion.

    • CalsPals

      August 18, 2021 at 1:35 pm

      I’ve never felt Means was anything special, caught lightening in a bottle once this season, I said earlier I felt he would be a 4 or 5 pitcher on most teams, still feel that way…go O’s…

    • Icterus fan

      August 18, 2021 at 1:52 pm

      Foodman, yes, “vanilla” is quite understated but I chose my word carefully. I hate what this team has devolved into (The Baltimore Bathyspheres) as much as the next fan, but generally choose to express myself without disparaging vitriol.
      Maybe I’ll get to that by next month, or next year.
      I didn’t expect them to be good this year anyway.

  4. Buzz1979

    August 17, 2021 at 9:44 pm

    WTF is wrong with Means? This is one, as Simon Cowell would say “pathetic”, “simply awful!” team!

  5. Boog Robinson Robinson

    August 17, 2021 at 10:01 pm

    Thank you Mike Elias.

  6. Buzz1979

    August 17, 2021 at 10:17 pm

    Plutko cleared waivers, imagine that!!!!!!!!!!!

    • EkimC

      August 17, 2021 at 10:35 pm

      You could put 20 to 25 percent of the players that are currently on the roster out on waivers and they would clear waivers… just saying

  7. Al Nassar

    August 17, 2021 at 11:26 pm

    By position here are my thoughts. Catcher/scrap heap players, 3rd base/scrape heap player, shortstop/scrap heap player, 2nd base/scrap player. I would the out fielders except for Steward. He’s not even worth a bag of balls. As far as starters, Means is a he only one to keep. Bull Pen/ don’t know what to say other then they are a sorry bunch. With that being said it looks like it will take at least 5 more years to build a competitive team. There is really no reason to rush anyone up from the minors because there not enough down there to fill all the voids. I am 75 and this is the worst bunch of Orioles I have ever seen

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