Orioles slugger Mark Trumbo, who has been one of the team's best hitters in the three weeks since he returned from the disabled list (quad strain), is out of the lineup Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox with a right knee problem.
"He thinks it was sliding into second base last night," manager Buck Showalter said. "He banged his knee, and got back to the room last night, was starting to feel sore. It started to get some puffiness to it. We came in today and [head athletic trainer Brian Ebel] told me around 1:30 [p.m.] he didn't think he was going to be a player tonight. We'll see how it is tomorrow, see how it is. Right now, it's day to day. But that's bothering to the point where he's not available to DH or play the outfield."
The absence comes on the heels of a mixed game Tuesday for Trumbo, who had four of the Orioles' seven hits and drove in a run but couldn't catch a fly ball in the right-field corner that hit off his glove and sparked Chicago's three-run eighth inning, leading to the team's 3-2 loss.
Trumbo took his fourth at-bat in the ninth inning and singled but was pinch-run for by Joey Rickard, presumably for speed purposes. With two runners on and a one-run deficit, he represented the go-ahead run.
Showalter said the pinch-running decision had nothing to do with the injury, which Trumbo didn't report until Wednesday.
"Sometimes, it's a thing that really doesn't show up until everything's calmed down," Showalter said. "I don't think people realize sometimes the adrenaline these guys play with during the game, and they show up a little bit later."
Trumbo might be evaluated by a White Sox physician Wednesday or Thursday, and if there’s no improvement, the team is making plans for him to see a doctor near their spring training home in Sarasota, Fla., when the Orioles travel to face the Tampa Bay Rays this weekend
Rickard, who himself has had a nice run with the major league team but is more known as a player who can hit left-handers well, started in right field instead Tuesday. Likewise, right-handed-hitting platoon man Danny Valencia, another lefty masher, served as the designated hitter. Showalter said White Sox starter Dylan Covey fares better against left-handed hitters than right-handed hitters.
Trumbo sits while carrying a five-game hitting streak that raised his season-line to .309/.317/.469 with a pair of home runs and seven doubles. He has a home run and two doubles in two games in Chicago, and said he had been seeing the results of some changes he'd been trying to make.
Showalter was equally impressed.
"Trumb's last two games, really three games, you can tell he's in a good place right now," Showalter said after Tuesday's game.
Despite that, the manager hopes it's a short-term absence and the players who are getting a chance in his stead replicate what Trumbo has done recently.
"Maybe he walks in, gets better at the end of the day and he pinch-hits and wins the game," Showalter said. "Maybe it's a one-day thing and whoever's taking his place will get three hits. That's the way I look at it. Danny has been swinging the bat pretty well. This guy's a reverse-split pitcher. ... I'm trying to look at it that way, and I hope the players do, too. Joey's probably looking forward to the chance."