Through a frustrating process that has featured multiple setbacks, Mark Trumbo has tried to maintain a positive attitude as he worked his way back to the Orioles.
But after a platelet-rich plasma injection Thursday put his rehabilitation on hiatus, Trumbo recognizes that if an evaluation in the next couple of weeks doesn’t show progress on his surgically repaired right knee, he’ll have to consider alternatives for his baseball future.
“You want to remain optimistic as long as you can until things just tell you that it’s not in the cards, but I’m hopeful that the PRP shot will provide some of the relief we’re looking for,” Trumbo said Friday. “Some of the things are unknowns, and they can trend in the right direction pretty quickly. Sometimes they don’t, though. I’m gonna anticipate some sort of return in the near future, and we’ll deal with whatever else happens.”
Trumbo, 33, hasn’t played since knee surgery in August ended his 2018 season. He tested the knee in spring training and didn’t sense enough readiness to return. His rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk was halted earlier this week after he felt discomfort Wednesday. In eight minor league games, Trumbo hit .214/.333/.393 with a home run, primarily as a designated hitter. He played five innings of first base in one game.
“I’ve given it kinda what I have so far, and there was just enough discomfort,” Trumbo said. “The production wasn’t really at a level that it’s ready to go at the top. Some of the moves in the batter’s box, swings weren’t quite what we’re looking for yet, and some of the stuff at first base was a bit much, so we’re trying to kinda do this in the right manner. I’ve tried to give it a shot a few times to play, but I think we’re gonna take a couple weeks and then kinda reevaluate things.”
If that evaluation does not show progress, Trumbo said he would consider retirement. He is in the final year of a three-year, $37.5 million deal with the Orioles and will be a free agent after the season.
“You do this as long as you can, and you try to remain relatively healthy, but there’s probably some tradeoffs that I’ll have to talk about with my family and with the people here,” Trumbo said. “I’ve been fortunate to play quite a few years with relatively good health, and then these last couple years have been a little more challenging. I think you have to kind of weigh the risk and the upside. We haven’t quite got that far along yet, but sooner or later, we’re gonna have to talk about it.”
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde hasn’t gotten the chance to manage Trumbo outside of the spring and said he would be disappointed to see the season end with that still being the case. In the offseason, Hyde spoke with many people who have played with or been around Trumbo who gave him glowing reviews. Hyde said in their interactions Trumbo has lived up to that praise.
“I was looking forward to managing, being with Mark,” Hyde said. “He’s just such a first-class guy and a pro. Obviously, it hurts not having him around, and we would love to have him in our clubhouse and in the lineup, but it’s just one of those things where he’s got an injury, and it’s gonna take a long time to come back from, and I give him a ton of credit for trying to come back way ahead of schedule just to be a part of the club, but the right thing to do is to make sure that Mark’s right and make sure his knee is OK.
“I just feel bad for him. I wish he was around and hitting third for us, but it is what it is.”