The Orioles placed Cedric Mullins on the 10-day injured list because of a strained right groin muscle on Tuesday. To replace Mullins on the 26-man roster, they signed outfielder Aaron Hicks, who was recently released by the New York Yankees.
Mullins injured the groin in eighth inning of Monday’s 5-0 loss to the Guardians.
“We have done some testing but being that’s it’s 24 hours old, I don’t think it’s fair to hammer us to start putting concrete timelines out there, but I think we’re hopeful that it’s something that’s best measured in weeks instead of months,” executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said. “We’re looking forward to getting him back as soon as possible as one of the best centerfielders in baseball right now, a huge part of our team. Missing him is going to be tough.”
Manager Brandon Hyde expressed hope after Monday’s game that Mullins’ injury wouldn’t be serious.
“It’s what I was hoping for,” Hyde said. “You never know how bad those can be. It sounds like we’re getting some positive news … When you see a guy pull up like that, your first instinct is not good. Because he pulled up, it seems like he helped himself. He didn’t get a hit out of it. He sacrificed a hit for maybe some weeks. We’re going to do everything we can to get him back as soon as possible. We’ll see how it goes, but I think the news was positive, at least for how bad it looked.”
Hyde said Mullins was down after Monday’s game.
“Today he seemed like in better spirits,” Hyde said. “He was sore, obviously, but I think he’s encouraged not being as look as it could be.”
Hicks hit .188 with a home run and five RBIs in 28 games with the Yankees.
“I think that he provides us another option,” Elias said. “We’ve got a ballpark where we have two large center-field-type positions to cover.”
Elias likes that Hicks is a switch-hitter, and the Orioles wanted a replacement for Mullins who hits left-handed. Colton Cowser, who’s out with a left quad strain, and Kyle Stowers, sidelined by shoulder inflammation, both hit left-handed but aren’t available. Daz Cameron was also considered, but the Notfolk centerfielder hits right-handed.
Both Austin Hays and Ryan McKenna can play center field, but both hit right-handed.
“I think this is a good fit for Hicks. I know he’s kind of excited to be joining this fun team right now,” Elias said. “I’m hopeful he’s going to be the right guy at the right time to help us out from here.”
Hicks was signed to a five-year, $70 million contract that runs through 2025, and the Orioles are only responsible for paying him the league minimum.
Elias said that the Orioles checked in with Hicks’ agent before Mullins was hurt.
“When the injury happened yesterday, it totally accelerated the focus from my standpoint,” Elias said. “I hope this is a shot in the arm for him. I hope he helps us out and wins some games. That’s our hope.”
Elias said he wasn’t thinking about the possible addition of Cowser in the near future.
“I’ve got to focus on getting him back and running first. To speak a little bit more precisely, it’s best measured in days rather than weeks is my hope with Colton,” Elias said. “I think we need to get him out and healthy. We need to make sure he’s back in the flow of gameplay at Triple-A. We’ll just take it all as it comes. He was building a case towards promotion consideration prior to his injury and prior to Cedric’s injury.”
Hicks’ addition fills the Orioles 40-man roster.