Orioles notes: As Mullins recovers from sore hip, he's getting his rest against left-handed starters

The Orioles’ 5-3 win over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night marked the third straight time switch-hitting center fielder Cedric Mullins wasn’t in the starting lineup against a left-handed starter. And while Orioles manager Buck Showalter maintains he’s picking his spots with Mullins to help him through a sore hip, it’s clear those spots revolve around avoiding lefties.

After not starting against Mariners left-hander Wade LeBlanc — who held the Orioles scoreless for six innings — Mullins came off the bench against right-handed reliever Adam Warren and followed Renato Núñez’s game-tying leadoff homer with a pinch-hit single to help fuel a four-run inning.


Mullins said Showalter hasn’t spoke to him about sitting against lefties, but said he’s trying to be ready to contribute no matter the situation.

“No, but the situation comes where I have the chance to play, I’m going to make the most of it,” Mullins said. “Like yesterday it was a situational thing. A right-hander came in and they felt like I was the guy needed for that moment and I was able to come through. … Yeah, Núñez really sparked the offense on his end and I was able to come behind him and continue to add on to it.

Before sitting against LeBlanc on Tuesday, Mullins also sat against two Toronto Blue Jays left-handers, Thomas Pannone and Ryan Borucki.

In Mullins’ brief big league time, he’s hitting much better against right-handers, batting .300 with a .904 OPS against righties compared with a .176 average and .476 OPS against lefties.

Mullins said he’s worked hard to try to have more success against lefties, and he knows doing so at the major league level will be important.

“It’s huge,” Mullins said. “Just continuing to develop a plan and I’m always working in the cage to just kind of solidify a foundation so I can continue to get better at it. I’ve made improvements over the years and it’s just a matter of continuing to strive for it.”

Mullins, who was back in the starting lineup Wednesday night against Mariners right-hander Mike Leake, said his hip is feeling better.

“Yeah, everything’s fine,” he said. “Just continue to stretch it out and make sure we stay away from anything else possible happening to it, but my body feels fine.”

Orioles players and coaches will wear first-of-their kind big league jerseys with their names spelled in Braille on National Federation of the Blind Night on Sept. 18 at Camden Yards.

Hays in Fall League limbo?

Although outfield prospect Austin Hays is scheduled to participate in the Arizona Fall League this offseason, Showalter said lingering ankle problems could prevent him from playing.

Hays, who entered the season as the Orioles’ top prospect after a breakout season that shot him from High-A Frederick to the majors, suffered through an injury-riddled 2018, missing two months with an ankle injury. He was limited to 66 games with Bowie, posting a .242/.271/.432 slash line that didn’t compare favorably with his 2017 numbers.

Infielder Steve Wilkerson is also scheduled to participate in the fall league and there are three pitching positions and a catcher position yet to be filled.

The Orioles made a pair of roster moves Wednesday, recalling infielder Steve Wilkerson and releasing outfielder Craig Gentry.

Around the horn

Right-hander David Hess will start Saturday’s game at Tampa Bay on one extra day of rest, and Showalter said right-hander Alex Cobb is scheduled to start Sunday on regular rest, meaning rookie Josh Rogers’ turn in the rotation will be either pushed back or skipped. … Showalter said outfielder-designated hitter Mark Trumbo’s knee surgery is scheduled for Friday in Baltimore so that team physician Dr. Michael Jacobs can “sit in on it” with team physician Dr. Leigh Ann Curl, who will do the procedure.

Alex Cobb didn't see the missed bats he wanted off his splitter against the Mariners, but settling for the groundouts it produced was equally effective in Tuesday night's win.

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