BALTIMORE—The Orioles activated first baseman Ryan Mountcastle from the 10-day injured list, though he’s not in the lineup for Wednesday night’s game against the Washington Nationals. Mountcastle hasn’t played since injuring his left shoulder on September 13th.
Mountcastle, who’s hitting .269 with 18 home runs and 67 RBIs with a .780 OPS, has been on the injured list twice. He missed a month this season with vertigo.
To make room for Mountcastle on the 28-man roster, the Orioles optioned outfielder Ryan McKenna to Triple-A Norfolk. McKenna could be recalled for a possible American League Division Series on October 7th.
“He took batting practice yesterday. We wanted him to have another day of batting practice on the field,” manager Brandon Hyde said about Mountcastle. “We put the machine out there, did some high-velocity stuff and have him see high velocity. He’s hit on the field twice, so I didn’t want to jump the gun and activate him if it didn’t go very well. He swung the bat very well today and he’s not going to start. He’ll be available off the bench.”
Mountcastle was hurt in the last game started by a left-hander against the Orioles, St. Louis’ Drew Rom. He’s coming off the injured list with the Orioles facing Washington lefty Patrick Corbin. Ryan O’Hearn started every game at first when Mountcastle was out. Anthony Santander is starting there on Wednesday.
“Mounty gives you a presence at the plate, a guy that can leave the ballpark,” Hyde said. “Just a good hitter, especially these last few months, he’s been really good.”
With just five games remaining in the regular season, Hyde wants him to get some at-bats before the postseason. The Orioles are facing Boston left-hander Chris Sale on Thursday, and Mountcastle will play.
“I’ll try to give him as many at-bats as possible,” Hyde said.
McKenna has hit .254 with two home runs and 18 RBIs in 88 games. In the last three seasons, he’s played the majority of games with the Orioles.
“We have four outfielders. [Aaron] Hicks brings a lot from that standpoint,” Hyde said. “I can always put O’Hearn out there. I can put [Adam] Frazier out there. Frazier’s a good outfielder. There’s versatility there from an outfield standpoint.
“Mac does bring a lot. Mac brings plus-defense in all three spots. He’s a good baserunner. He takes good at-bats, especially against left-handed pitching. He’s had a good year. He’s been productive this season.
“He’s an unbelievable team guy, loudest guy in the dugout, one of the first guys here in the clubhouse every single day. He loves it. He loves to play. He loves to be around. He’s very likable. Guys really like him.
“It’s never easy to option somebody like that that is valuable. When you get good, you sometimes have to option players that you don’t want to, but that creates depth. Anything can happen at any time … I just want him to stay ready. He’s a huge part of our team.”
Notes: Hyde said there are no updates on closer Félix Bautista, who threw a simulated game on Tuesday. … The Orioles have a “5” affixed to the Warehouse and a tribute emblazoned on the grass near the third base coach’s box. … With Tuesday night’s win, the Orioles’ streak of series without being swept increased to 90, fourth longest in baseball history.