FORT MYERS, FLA. — A pair of projected everyday players with the Orioles are dealing with pinkie finger injuries that have limited them to various extents in spring training.
Left fielder Trey Mancini has just six plate appearances over three games and left Saturday's game against the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers early after jamming his pinkie Feb. 24 in his spring training debut while sliding into second base on a successful stolen base.
Second baseman Jonathan Villar had a similar injury befall him Sunday against the Detroit Tigers, catching a steel spike on his right pinkie sliding into second base and leaving before he was scheduled to come out of the game.
Hyde said both are being held out more to protect them than anything else.
"With both of those guys, I don't want to — especially with hands — I don't want to rush anything," manager Brandon Hyde said. "I just want to make sure they're feeling good at the end of the month."
Mancini, especially, has reason to be cautious. Part of his first-half swoon in 2018 came because of some of the alterations he made to his swing after banging his knee on the wall trying to make a sliding catch in foul territory, and it took months for him to get back to where he wanted to be.
Mancini felt himself overcompensating with his other hand in his swing, and doesn't want to go through that again.
"His finger is starting to feel better," Hyde said.
As for Villar, Hyde said the issue is more that there was a wound than anything else.
"He's just tender," Hyde said. "He just cut it when he went head-first into the steel, he just cut his pinkie. A little bit of a spike. It just got a little sore on him, and I just didn't want to take any chances with him yesterday. He should be OK."
Villar has two hits in 12 at-bats this spring and is penciled in to be the Opening Day second baseman, while Mancini has been the team's primary left fielder for the last two years, but could see time at first base or designated hitter depending on the health of outfielder Mark Trumbo (knee).
Yac held back
Right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis was set to pitch Monday in Fort Myers against the Minnesota Twins, but was held back in Sarasota to pitch a three-inning simulated game against Trumbo and Chris Davis instead.
Hyde said it's mostly a matter of innings available, with Dylan Bundy and David Hess scheduled for three innings apiece as well.
“There’s just not enough innings and we’re so unclear on our four or five and long guy, who’s in our bullpen," Hyde said. "So, we want to see so many guys throw and we’re not sure who’s a starter yet or who’s not a starter, so allowing guys to throw multiple innings, we just don’t have the nine innings or possible eight innings here — we just [need] too many innings — so we have to do backfield stuff and ‘B’ game stuff to get guys stretched out."
Around the horn
Right-hander Nate Karns, who had arm soreness that kept him from making a scheduled start Friday, will pitch an inning in relief behind Alex Cobb on Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. ... Hyde said he was impressed by left-hander Tanner Scott's scoreless inning Sunday. "It’s a mid-90s guy with a wipeout slider," Hyde said. "Now it’s about harnessing his stuff. Now it’s all command."