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

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.

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“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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