The Orioles’ roster situation continues to evolve as the club gets closer to Opening Day, with a flurry of roster moves this weekend and the announcement Sunday by manager Brandon Hyde that slugger Mark Trumbo will have to start the season on the injured list.
“Trum’s not going to break with us,’’ Hyde said. “We’re just going to give him some more time. We’re going to let him continue to do his rehab down here.”
The club also optioned left-handers Josh Rogers and Tanner Scott, catcher Chance Sisco and reliever Evan Phillips to the Triple-A Norfolk roster and reassigned utilityman Jace Peterson and catchers Carlos Pérez and Andrew Susac to minor league camp Sunday.
Trumbo, who is recovering from major knee surgery, worked hard all spring to be ready for Opening Day, but it was always considered a strong possibility that he would have to stay back for extended spring training to continue his rehabilitation program.
That’s why he said Sunday that he was neither surprised nor disappointed by the decision.
“I was kind of in on the decision, so it’s not a surprise on my end,’’ he said. “No [disappointment]. The realistic part about it is I need more time. I’d love to be out there but if it’s not ready, it’s not ready.”
He was able to appear in a handful of games as a DH and had two hits in 12 at-bats, but still needs time to progress to a point in which he can take at-bats, run the bases pain-free and play in the field.
“Once I got in game action this spring, it kind of flared up and never let down,’’ he said. “That’s a pretty good indicator that we’re not there yet..”
Hyde applauded Trumbo’s attempt to come back from a particular knee injury that normally requires far more than seven months to rehabilitate.
“I give him so much credit for everything he’s done in the last month — during his whole rehab process,’’ Hyde said, “but really give him a lot of credit for trying to come back from a tough injury earlier than anybody has.”
“It’s the right thing for him, for us. I’ve said many times, I want Mark to be Mark Trumbo. I want Mark to be healthy when he joins us. I don’t want a lesser version. That’s not fair to him. We just want to get him as healthy as we possibly can before he joins us at some point this year.”
Trumbo said he would suspend baseball activities for at least the next week or two and concentrate on further strengthening the area around the repair. He said he has a general idea of how long that might take, estimating a month or more.
The decision opens at-bats in the designated hitter slot that should create some lineup flexibility for Hyde and some additional playing time for the team’s extra position players.
“I think I’ll be creative with it, with quite a few guys depending on the starting pitcher that night,” Hyde said. “I think we have a lot of movable pieces, so I think we’ll just be creative with our DH.”
The overall roster situation remains in flux with 29 players still in camp. Hyde said that a combination of factors still make it difficult to project the 25-man roster. The decision on Trumbo, he said, helps in that regard.
“A little bit,” Hyde said. “It clears up some things. It doesn’t clear up everything. ... With what happened with Alex [Cobb] last night, there’s a lot of things that might change.”
Cobb, who suffered a groin strain while warming up for his final spring start Saturday night, was not available for comment early Sunday, but Hyde said that he is feeling better. Still, with a groin injury — even an apparently slight one like Cobb’s — it’s hard to determine just how long a player will be lost.
“We’re going to see how Alex responds today, tomorrow and then kind of reassess how we’re going to break,’’ Hyde said.
Just in case, the length of Andrew Cashner’s start Sunday was limited to allow the coaches to alter his pitching schedule if necessary.
Peterson was scratched from the lineup for the split-squad game against the Pirates, which raised suspicion that he was being sent back to minor league camp. Hyde verified that before the game, but he still could have played.
“He’s been playing a ton and I just wanted to give him a blow,” Hyde said. “He got hit twice last night by balls, so I wanted to give him a breather, but we did send him out this morning.”
Hyde also explained the reasoning behind the club’s decision to option Phillips back to the Triple-A roster.
Latest Baltimore Orioles
“We just kind of ran into a numbers game, which we expressed to him this morning. Obviously, he had a great camp. Threw really well last time. Last night, I thought it was his best appearance. Fastball up to 96. It’s just that you can only take 25 guys with us. He’s going to be a big part of our team at some point this year. That might be early. It might be late. I don’t know. He’s just not going to break with us.”