Orioles outfielder Colby Rasmus, who hasn’t played since April 6 with a left hip flexor strain, began his minor league rehabilitation assignment Friday with Double-A Bowie, but manager Buck Showalter said a quick return from the disabled list doesn’t appear imminent.
Rasmus went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout for the Baysox on Friday.
In his last game, at Yankee Stadium, Rasmus, 31, aggravated a hip injury that required surgery two offseasons ago. Signed during spring training to play regularly in right field against right-handed pitching, the left-handed-hitting Rasmus struggled mightily at the plate before landing on the DL, opening the season 2-for-21 with 13 strikeouts in his first eight games.
Asked whether his hip affected his production before landing on the DL, Rasmus said it was a hindrance but didn’t want to blame his struggles entirely on his hip. He said the discomfort increased in a game in New York on April 5. He played the next day, but was shelved after that.
“I would say that my hip, it was hurting a little bit with the cold weather,” Rasmus said. “In those early games when it was cold, I was having a hard time kind of getting it going, but we also ran into some good pitching, so I’m not going to blame it all on that. I felt good. It was just in that game against [New York Yankees starter Masahiro] Tanaka [on April 5] that I felt it and felt that hip flexor strain and it got weak after that.”
Now, after rehabbing in Sarasota, Fla., Rasmus is ready to begin his minor league rehab assignment. He will have 20 days before the team must activate him from the DL.
“You want to make sure he’s playing in the game with the freedom that he needs to play with up here and not hamper any part of his game, because when he’s healthy, he can contribute for us,” Showalter said. “That’s important that he shows that.”
Rasmus said he received “a couple” of cortisone injections in his hip last week and has felt better since.
“Now I’m feeling good and ready to go,” Rasmus said. “I’ve been feeling good. I’ve been playing games down in Sarasota, feeling good, running around, swinging feels good, running feels good. So I feel like I’m ready to go. … When I got down there, I wanted to make sure when I came back I was fully healthy and didn’t come back just to come back. I wanted to make sure I was good and healthy, that I could come back and help the team.”
Beckham encouraged by rehab
Infielder Tim Beckham can’t be activated from the 60-day disabled list until June 23, but he expects to return from core muscle surgery around that time.
Beckham, who was in Baltimore on Friday, said he’s been running at 80 to 85 percent, and has been intensifying his fielding drills at third base every day while rehabbing in Sarasota.
“It’s feeling well,” Beckham said. “I’m not at 100 percent yet, but definitely close. Definitely almost there, so I should be back soon. … I feel like I’m on schedule. Everything’s been going well on the rehab and just take it day by day and keep pushing it.”
Beckham, 28, said he is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment June 14, which would give him nine days before he’s eligible to return.
Beckham had been playing through some groin problems that dated to his days with the Tampa Bay Rays, and how much it affected his game remains to be seen. But Beckham said he’s relieved he decided to get the procedure so he can put it behind him.
“I’m definitely happy I got it taken care of,” Beckham said. “Baseball is a grind and the competitors we are, we come out and you want to play through injuries and play through everything to be on the field to help the team win ballgames. … I’m looking forward to getting back with the club. … There haven’t been any hiccups and I don’t plan on running across any hiccups, so it’s going well. I just want to stay the course.”
Britton tosses perfect inning in Bowie
Orioles closer Zach Britton made his second minor league rehab appearance Friday at Bowie, retiring all three batters he faced on groundouts in a quick one-inning appearance in the third.
The Orioles adjusted Britton’s minor league rehab assignment schedule, moving him up a day to make his second rehab appearance Friday with Bowie.
Britton (Achilles) hasn’t allowed a run in two outings. He tossed a scoreless inning for High-A Frederick at Wilmington in his first rehab appearance Wednesday. He allowed one hit and struck out the side.
Looking ahead, the Orioles made the adjustment so Britton could potentially pitch with an affiliate again Sunday. He was scheduled to pitch Monday, but with every minor league club off that day, he would have been forced to settle for pitching a simulated game.
“Really don’t want him to do any sim games or anything like that when it’s raining,” Showalter said. “We’re beyond that. He needs to face people who are trying to do him harm in other uniforms. It worked out good.”
Infielder Danny Valencia returned to the club after missing two games on the paternity list following the birth of his son, Oliver. The Orioles optioned left-handed reliever Donnie Hart to Triple-A Norfolk before Friday’s game to make room.
Despite having a homer in three career at-bats against Friday’s Yankees starter, Sonny Gray, Valencia wasn’t in the starting lineup for the Orioles.
“Wanted to get him to take some swings, take some ground balls to get back in it,” Showalter said of Valencia, who hasn’t played since being scratched from Tuesday’s lineup to be with his wife. “He’s been away really for three days, and with the lack of sleep for three days, some of you fathers know. … You’ll probably see him back soon.”
Hart pitched a perfect eighth inning in the Orioles’ 2-0 loss to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday, his only appearance during his latest stint with the team.
Around the horn
Right-hander Darren O’Day (hyperextended right elbow) continues to progress slowly. Showalter said that he will need at least one or two rehab games before being activated. … Outfield prospect Cedric Mullins was promoted to Norfolk from Bowie. He was hitting .313/.362/.512 with 23 extra-base hits (12 doubles, five triples, six homers) in 49 games with the Baysox. … Pitching prospect Hunter Harvey was scheduled to be shortened up to pitch just three innings for Bowie on Friday, but he lasted just two, allowing six runs on five hits and a walk, including two homers. … Baseball Treasure, a company that mints officially licensed collectible copper coins featuring 30 current baseball stars, has announced the introduction of collectible baseball trading coins in copper, silver and gold. A star from every major league team has been minted in a one-ounce copper coin presented in a full color cardboard mount with center fielder Adam Jones representing the Orioles. The packs, which are the same size as standard trading cards, retail at $6.95 each. In addition to the 30-coin copper base set for 2018 Baseball Treasure MLB Coins, collectors can also hope for the rare chase coins. The odds of obtaining a .999 fine silver version (a $50 retail value) is one in 432, while the chances of getting a gold coin (a $2,000 retail value) is one in 21,600.