Notes: Stewart, Harvey injury updates

March 13th, 2021

The Orioles hope they'll have -- a candidate to make the team as Baltimore's primary designated hitter -- back on the field soon.

Stewart tweaked his left hamstring running down the first-base line on March 5 and has been nursing the injury for the past week.

"DJ is progressing," manager Brandon Hyde said before Saturday's game against the Blue Jays. "We're hoping [for] game action maybe later next week."

The 27-year-old left-handed hitter was off to a hot start to Spring Training, with two home runs in his first three games before the injury.

As far as another injured Orioles slugger, veteran Chris Davis, there wasn't much new on Saturday. Hyde said Davis, who is seeing a specialist for a lower back strain, is still getting his back treated.

Harvey being re-evaluated
Hard-throwing reliever is being re-evaluated Saturday after sustaining a left oblique injury during Friday's game, Hyde said.

Hyde said he hadn't received any updates on Harvey's condition by the time he left for Saturday’s game in Dunedin.

With Harvey, a potential closer for the O's, likely to miss several weeks, a spot is open on the Baltimore pitching staff as Opening Day approaches. Hyde said the team hasn't yet decided whether to target another late-inning type as Harvey's replacement, or a long reliever who can eat innings.

"We'll address the pitching situation when it comes closer to when we break [camp]," Hyde said, "but I think we could see another short-inning bullpen guy or a guy that can give us length out of the 'pen, either one."

Rutschman battles to break up no-no
While Adley Rutschman has drawn only two starts so far this spring, the 23-year-old catcher continues to impress whenever he’s called upon.

Rutschman’s latest contribution? A double on the 10th pitch of his at-bat against Blue Jays reliever Jordan Romano, breaking up Toronto’s no-hit bid in the top of the seventh inning during the Orioles’ 5-0 loss at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Fla., on Saturday afternoon. Rutschman’s two-bagger came after he fouled off five straight 2-2 pitches from Romano.

“Love the battle in the at-bat,” Hyde said. “Deep count, took some really good swings, fouled some balls back, fouled some tough pitches off, got something he could handle and put a good swing on it. We’ve gotta do more of that collectively, but that was a really nice at-bat by Adley.”

Rutschman, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft and the current No. 2 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is now 3-for-9 with two doubles, three walks and one RBI in five games this spring.

As a whole, however, Baltimore’s offense has struggled, recording the lowest batting average (.202), slugging percentage (.295) and OPS (.599) in the Majors through 13 games.

“I think we have a lot of guys that are trying way too hard and swinging way too hard,” Hyde said. “No matter the count, they’re trying to put their ‘A’ swing to try to hit the ball as far as they can, instead of managing an at-bat, [taking] a middle-of-the-field approach and [being] in battle mode with two strikes. We’re just swinging hard and a lot. I do think that’s inexperience and youth, especially with our younger guys. Guys that don’t have a whole lot of Major League time.”

Hyde mentioned Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays as guys who are having good at-bats. The two are competing for the starting job in center field, and there’s no clear frontrunner with roughly two weeks left in Spring Training. Hyde also likes Pedro Severino’s approach at the plate, although the catcher hasn’t had positive results yet, going 1-for-16.