Orioles first baseman Chris Davis was scratched from Tuesday's lineup with a sore left hip flexor, manager Brandon Hyde said, though he noted it was a precautionary move and expects Davis' status to be day-to-day.
"His hip flexor is a little sore from a throw up the line a couple days ago. It grabbed a little bit, and he finished [the game]," Hyde said.
Davis wasn't in the lineup for the Grapefruit League road game against the Minnesota Twins on Monday, instead remaining in Sarasota to take at-bats in a simulated game against Jimmy Yacabonis alongside Mark Trumbo.
Davis reported it was "a little sore" Tuesday, Hyde said.
"We're just going to keep him out for precaution," Hyde said.
Davis homered in his second spring training game, but has no other hits in 14 plate appearances, with a pair of walks and seven strikeouts this spring. Davis has said he feels good about his swing to this point, and Hyde said he's been impressed with the work Davis has put in.
"I think he's going about things the right way," Hyde said. "He's been fully engaged in all of our defensive stuff, he's been fantastic. He's the first guy in the cage with [hitting coach Don Long] and [assistant hitting coach Howie Clark] in the morning. Yesterday, he wants to take more at-bats off Yacabonis. He gets a ton of at-bats that way. So, I think the process of how he's going about things has been great. I'm really happy about that."
Even with a low level of concern about the hip, per Hyde, Davis had an injury last spring training that he has at times acknowledged as contributing to his poor 2018, one of the worst seasons in baseball history.
Davis had elbow soreness that kept him out for over two weeks, and he’s alluded to that pain carrying throughout the season. He also missed time in 2017 with an oblique strain.
With Trey Mancini nursing a jammed pinkie and Trumbo working his way back into game form after knee surgery last year, the Orioles have had to get creative at first base. Jace Peterson was inserted into the lineup Tuesday — he has scant first base experience but a glove from Freddie Freeman from his days with the Atlanta Braves — and Ryan Mountcastle, Stevie Wilkerson, Rio Ruiz and Renato Núñez have also played first base this spring.
No schedule for Trumbo
Hyde said there was still no rush to get Trumbo into game action soon, noting it might be a player's mindset to set targets, but he doesn't want to put that kind of pressure on a veteran player like Trumbo.
"Mark knows how I feel: I want him to be healthy," Hyde said. "I think he has a target — a player wants to get back, and I don't want to put a date on it for him because I just want him to be fully ready to go when he's ready, and if that's [March 12] or that's [March 22] or that's the third week in April ... he had a significant knee injury, and I think everybody has been super excited about how he's come back off it, and the work that he's put in to come back has been unbelievable, and his knee is responding well."
Trumbo had a relatively new procedure to replace the cartilage in his knee, something Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has had a long road to recovery from, and there's very little precedent for getting back quickly.
"I don't want him to have setbacks, and I want him to be healthy," Hyde said. "When we feel like he's healthy, then we're going to be patient with him from then on, too. I just don't want to throw him in a situation where we could potentially reinjure and not feel 100 percent."
Hess attacks to impress
Right-hander David Hess said the new Orioles coaching staff's mindset of encouraging pitchers to be aggressive in the strike zone, especially with their off-speed pitches like his favored slider, helped him retire all nine batters he faced in three innings Monday against the Twins.
"It was a lot of fun out there," Hess said. "I think [catcher] Chance [Sisco] did a great job back there, just being on the same page, but really, just going at guys. That's something that Hyder has talked a lot about, just being in attack mode against guys, so that's something I've really been trying to focus on, just being aggressive and not necessarily challenging with fastballs all the time, but pitching smart, and then just going right at them. I think just kind of having that mentality where out on the mound, you're in control. I think that really was a big factor, being able to just make quality pitches. The results were good yesterday, but I do think that's something going forward that's going to be the key."