Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Trumbo progressing, targets Opening Day

O's slugger rehabbing from right knee surgery in September
MLB.com @JoeTrezz

BALTIMORE -- Nearly five months after right knee surgery truncated his summer, normalcy is returning for Mark Trumbo. The veteran slugger has ramped up his baseball activities in recent weeks, with an eye toward being ready by the start of the 2019 season.

"It's hard to say definitely," Trumbo said at O's FanFest on Saturday. "But where we're at, there is a lot of optimism."

BALTIMORE -- Nearly five months after right knee surgery truncated his summer, normalcy is returning for Mark Trumbo. The veteran slugger has ramped up his baseball activities in recent weeks, with an eye toward being ready by the start of the 2019 season.

"It's hard to say definitely," Trumbo said at O's FanFest on Saturday. "But where we're at, there is a lot of optimism."

That's due to the lack of setbacks in Trumbo's rehab, which he described as "nonstop." Trumbo went under the knife in early September, then he spent eight weeks on crutches. From there, progression came incrementally. Jogging, throwing, then hitting, which Trumbo attempted for the first time last week at the club's minicamp in Sarasota, Fla.

Trumbo plans to head back to the Spring Training complex before the position players' mandatory report date on Feb. 18, to test the knee further. The target to return is Opening Day.

"Strength is right where we want it. ... I don't see any reason why things wont be where they need to be," Trumbo said. "We're working really hard to kind of get the size of both legs as equal as we can."

For Trumbo, last year's procedure brought an unnatural conclusion to a season book-ended by injuries. Trumbo began 2018 on the disabled list with a right quad strain, before playing through joint issues in his knee for much of the summer. He opted for surgery that ultimately replaced cartilage that had deteriorated in the knee.

All told, Trumbo hit .261/.313/.452 with 17 home runs in 90 games. Those numbers marked something of a middle ground of his three seasons with the Orioles, more or less splitting the difference between his career-worst 2017 campaign and banner '16 season, after which Trumbo inked a $37.5 million extension to remain in Baltimore. Now at 33, and coming off a significant leg injury, Trumbo projects as a full-time designated hitter, one of the O's few veteran bats and potential trade chips. The new regime would almost surely look to flip the former home run champion for prospects, should he return to form.

"I would like to get healthy and stay healthy, that's the number one thing," Trumbo said. "I'm not much use to anybody on the disabled list. I don't want to be too aggressive with things early on in the spring timeline. I really want to get it right and not have to do what I did last year."

Other injury updates
The injury news was also good for the three other rehabbing Orioles who attended FanFest on Saturday, as Richard Bleier, Hunter Harvey and Austin Hays all relayed positive prognoses.

The road back has been longest for Bleier, who underwent surgery to repair a torn right lat muscle in June 2018. The sinker-balling lefty has been consistently effective during his tenure in Baltimore, posting a 1.97 ERA in 88 games since 2017. He had logged a 1.93 ERA across 32 2/3 innings at the time of his injury.

Four months of rehab flowered before Bleier picked up a ball again. He resumed throwing in November, and he has worked his way up to long-tossing since. The next step is to throw off a mound.

"It's been a long process, I'll definitely admit to that. I feel like I'm past the hump," Bleier said. "The schedule is for Opening Day. Unless there are setbacks -- which I don't think there will be -- I should be ready."

Harvey, ranked as the club's No. 8 prospect by MLB Pipeline, reported no lingering affects from the right forearm discomfort that limited him to nine games in 2018. The 24-year old said he hired a personal trainer this offseason to help stabilize his shoulder. The former first-round Draft pick has been hampered by injuries for much of his professional career.

"I worked my butt off this offseason again just trying to prevent injuries, and it's been tough the last few years. But hopefully we can put everything together this year," Harvey said. "I'd like to pitch a full season, hopefully at the big league level."

Hays said he's in "the last stages" of his rehab after undergoing ankle surgery in September. The O's No. 4 prospect figures to compete for a big league roster spot this spring.

Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.

Baltimore Orioles, Hunter Harvey, Mark Trumbo