Ryan Mountcastle hoped the pain would go away more quickly, given a few days off during the Orioles’ trip to St. Louis. But when the shooting pain from his left thumb up his forearm “kept getting worse and worse,” the first baseman landed on the 10-day injured list, the Orioles announced Friday, with a start date retroactive to Wednesday.
Mountcastle said he hopes to return by the latter half of next week’s homestand. In the clubhouse Friday, he wore a brace on his left wrist to prevent aggravation, and he was having his forearm checked by the training staff before the game. But Mountcastle doesn’t expect to leave the team in Detroit to see any specialist.
“Some type of sprained forearm thing,” Mountcastle said. “Just kind of shoots up from my thumb through my forearm. Swinging and just trying to open up my glove, the impact of the ball hitting my glove, just really sharp pain through my forearm. Played through it in St. Louis, and it was pretty excruciating pain. And then the day after that [Tuesday] game, it was really bad.”
The pain first started for Mountcastle after Sunday’s doubleheader, but he tried to play through it. He featured Tuesday before being absent Wednesday and Thursday with the hope that the rest would alleviate that pain.
“It just wasn’t healing as fast as we were hoping,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “With the way that we are short, got a bunch of guys banged up, didn’t want to rush him back. Wanted to make sure it was right. It’s a long season. And hopefully he’ll be ready when he comes off the injured list.
Baltimore has dealt with several day-to-day injuries lately. Rougned Odor missed Thursday’s game against the Cardinals with a sinus issue, but he said he’s “better” and was in the lineup at second base Friday. Infielder Ramón Urías has missed four straight games with abdominal discomfort, but Hyde said he should be available off the bench in the series opener against the Tigers.
The outlook for outfielder Austin Hays is less certain. Hays’ hand was stepped on as he dove to first base in Thursday’s win against the Cardinals, and while he finished the game, he required several stitches afterwards. To return to the field, the training staff taped his hand his to momentarily stem the bleeding.
Hays said the sutures on his left hand need at least 48 hours to heal before he can resume baseball activities. Hays usually wears a glove while running the bases, but as he ran to first after hitting, he didn’t have one. He’s never been stepped on by a cleat, although he’s suffered broken and dislocated fingers while sliding in the past.
“It’s very painful today, and it was very painful to finish the game yesterday,” Hays said. “We had a short bench. I thought I was capable of playing defense. It would’ve been interesting if my spot in the lineup would’ve come up.”
The Orioles are relying on utilityman Chris Owings to play left field Friday as Tyler Nevin slides over to first base. Rylan Bannon, who made his major league debut Thursday, slotted in at third base for the second consecutive day.
Those utility players are a vital cog for Baltimore as the team navigates a glut of injuries.
“We talked a lot about that over the years, the need for versatility and the need for versatile guys on your roster,” Hyde said, “because of weeks like this.”