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Orioles notes: Mark Trumbo now likely to avoid disabled list

Before Friday’s series opener at the Tampa Bay Rays, it appeared that Mark Trumbo was heading to the 10-day disabled list with a right knee injury, but now it appears he will avoid the DL.

Trumbo received an injection in his knee Friday, but did not have the knee drained to relieve the swelling, which had also been planned for Friday. Trumbo said Saturday that the knee has improved to the point that he believes he will be back in the lineup within the next few days.

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“We’re going to wait on him,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Obviously he’s worth waiting on, so we’re going to wait at least another day. … I was talking to him in the dugout [Friday] and he was feeling better it seemed like every hour that passed.”

Showalter said Trumbo is scheduled to resume baseball activity Sunday and could be an option to return to the lineup as soon as Monday, when the Orioles play an afternoon home game on Memorial Day against the Washington Nationals.

Had the Orioles placed Trumbo on the DL, he wouldn’t be able to return until June 2, and now it appears he can be back sooner.

Trumbo said Friday that an MRI on the knee revealed arthritis and chondromalacia (cartilage damage under the kneecap) that he will have to play through. He aggravated the knee during a four-hit game Tuesday at the Chicago White Sox while sliding into second base. The Orioles have been playing with a short bench since then.

Also, David Hess’ strong start Friday — he held the Rays scoreless over 6 2/3 innings — saved the bullpen and created less urgency to add another reliever.

Wilkerson returning soon

Orioles minor league infielder Steve Wilkerson, who has missed the beginning of the season serving a 50-game suspension for a failed drug test, is scheduled to return to games this upcoming week.

Wilkerson, 26, was among the players brought over from extended spring training to participate in closer Zach Britton’s simulated game Saturday. He is reporting to Triple-A Norfolk this week and could be in the Tides lineup as soon as Wednesday depending on whether Norfolk avoids any rain delays in the next few days.

Had he not been suspended for testing positive for amphetamine, Wilkerson could have competed for a major league utility roster spot this spring. Wilkerson had a breakout year in 2017 that put him on the doorstep of the major leagues. The switch-hitting infielder batted .305/.375/.423 with 23 doubles, eight homers and 45 RBIs at High-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie.

Instead, the Orioles have struggled to fill the utility position — a void that became more glaring after infielders Jonathan Schoop and Tim Beckham were sidelined with injuries. Jace Peterson, who was claimed off waivers from the New York Yankees in late April, eventually filled that role.

Around the horn

Hess has officially been awarded a rotation spot after throwing 6 2/3 scoreless innings Friday. “I don’t know what else [he’d have to do],” Showalter said. Hess will start Wednesday’s home game against the Nationals. … Reliever Darren O’Day is scheduled to throw again Tuesday after receiving a cortisone injection in his slow-healing hyperextended right elbow. Showalter said he’s expected to return from the DL before Britton. O’Day will likely need at least one minor league rehabilitation outing before returning, Showalter said. … Relievers Miguel Castro and Pedro Araujo were used between simulated innings of Britton’s outing to work on improving their times to the plate. … ... Saturday was executive vice president Dan Duquette’s 60th birthday.

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