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Orioles notes: Hip soreness forces Cedric Mullins out of lineup for 'Sunday Night Baseball'

Rookie center fielder Cedric Mullins would have been one of the most interesting Orioles storylines during Sunday night’s nationally televised game against the New York Yankees if he hadn’t woken up with a sore hip Sunday morning.

Mullins was not in the starting lineup and is day-to-day for the three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays that starts Monday at Oriole Park.

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He isn’t sure exactly what caused him to “tweak” his hip, but it was sore enough for him to call the Orioles’ training staff first thing Sunday morning.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter stressed good evaluation and good communication as key aspects of the team's rebuild, and kept returning to the idea that the team has to sell hope to a fan base that might not see it in the club's 36-93 record.

“There’s a little fatigue involved,’’ he said. “Having to go through my second nine-inning doubleheader, it was just a long day. This will give me some time to recover. I’m kind of banged up from it.”

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So, the Orioles won’t get to show him off on the big stage. He is off to a very good start at the major league level, hitting safely in 10 of his first 15 games (.309). He also has played strong defense and went well above the fence in Saturday’s first game to rob slugger Giancarlo Stanton of a home run.

Whether it was that play or some other that caused the hip strain is unclear.

“He’s not sure exactly which play, thought it was probably on a throw he made, kind of an off-balance, awkward throw,’’ manager Buck Showalter said. “It improved as the day went on — call it a hip flexor. I just didn’t want to linger on. I’m hoping it’s a short-term thing and I’m not going to broadcast his availability tonight [Sunday].

“I just didn’t think after 18 innings yesterday, it was in his best interests for him to start tonight. I hate it, because I’d love to see everybody see Cedric.”

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Mullins has played every game since he make his major league debut Aug. 10. His second day, he played both ends of a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox. He played both games Saturday against the Yankees, matching his career high with three hits in the first game and going hitless in the nightcap.

“It all kind of adds up,” Mullins said. “Talking with the skipper, it was just time. I talked to him yesterday and I talked to the trainers and said there was a little tweak in my hip and they wanted to make sure it’s okay. … It’s a day-to-day thing. It’s really tight right now.”

Gentry, not Jones, in CF

Craig Gentry started in center field in place of Mullins and Adam Jones remained the starting right fielder. Showalter explained that he and Jones agreed that the move to right field would be permanent.

“We talked about it in the past,” Showalter said. “I just think that every rep he can get out there is good for him. I don’t want to start yo-yo-ing him back and forth out there. I just think it’s good for him and the club. We’re lucky to have Craig who can play center field.”

Roster expansion ahead

The Sept. 1 roster expansion is just days ahead, but the Orioles have given no indication who will be coming up. Those decisions are complicated by a possible postseason bid by the Triple-A Norfolk Tides, who are very much in contention for a wild-card playoff berth.

Showalter indicated that the team will bring up a third catcher, which would figure to be top prospect Chance Sisco, but no one is saying that’s a certainty.

History class

When the Orioles get to Kansas City next weekend, Showalter said that he’ll take the team to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. “Some of them don’t know it yet, but I think it’s going to be mandatory,” Showalter said. “We’ve got some young guys who have been called up who have been asked very strongly that they go. They need to see that...It’s very moving.”

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