BALTIMORE -- Orioles reliever Darren O'Day will have hamstring surgery in the near future, ending his season with a six-month recovery process, manager Buck Showalter said Saturday. An MRI Wednesday morning revealed a Grade 2 strain on O'Day's left hamstring. At the time, surgery appeared to be a less likely possibility.
"It gives you a lot better chance of it not being an issue again," Showalter said of the decision to have the surgery. "And that's important."
Along with Richard Bleier, O'Day is the second Orioles reliever to have season-ending surgery. They had been the most consistent bullpen arms in an otherwise rocky year for Baltimore's relievers.
"Just kind of deciding when and where and who," Showalter said as the next steps.
The final straw on O'Day's hamstring came in Tuesday's loss to Seattle, when he grabbed the back of his leg while trying to field a bunt in the seventh inning. He has been dealing with hamstring problems recently and was unavailable in the first two games of the series in Washington last week, but he recovered to pitch in the third game.
Even if O'Day and the training staff elected for the natural healing route, the recovery process would be 10-12 weeks, effectively ending his season in any circumstance.
Schoop a healthy scratch
Jonathan Schoop will have a chance to reset and hopefully turn around his season, as he was a healthy scratch for Saturday's matinee with the Angels. Utility man Steve Wilkerson got his first start at second base in Schoop's place Saturday.
Schoop is a year removed from an All-Star season in which he slashed .293/.338/.503 with 32 home runs and 105 RBIs. In 2018 so far, those numbers are .197/.242/.345 with eight home runs and 21 RBIs through 61 games.
With a scheduled off-day Monday, Showalter did not rule out giving Schoop another day off in the series finale on Sunday as well, labeling it a reset period for the struggling second baseman.
"He hasn't been able to put together that consistency that he did last year," Showalter said. "He's not the only one. … He's getting information and suggestions from every angle. [Schoop's] a guy that's going to listen."
First baseman Chris Davis went through a similar period earlier this month, sitting eight games to work on mechanics before his return last weekend. Showalter and his staff are perhaps inspired by Davis' relative success since his return, calling what Schoop is to embark on "a shorter version of what we did with Chris."
Schoop is completely fine medically, Showalter said, though he did have a stiff neck when attempting to break a bat over his neck on Friday.
Tillman to start at Triple-A
Chris Tillman took another step in his recovery process Saturday, getting the start for Triple-A Norfolk.
It was Tillman's third rehab start in the Minors as he works his way back from a back injury he sustained in early May. He went 3 2/3 innings Saturday, giving up eight hits, five runs and three walks while striking out a pair.
Over a start each with Class A Short-Season Aberdeen and Class A Delmarva, Tillman had gone 5 1/3 innings with five earned runs, six hits, three walks and four strikeouts before Saturday.
"This is about getting people out at a level that he should be getting people out if he's coming back here," Showalter said. " … I'd really like to see him have one or two quality starts down there and really pitch like a guy who's better than that level."