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Trumbo questionable for Opening Day

O's being cautious with rehabbing slugger; Sucre decision looms
@JoeTrezz
March 21, 2019

BRADENTON, Fla. -- When it comes to Opening Day, it sounds like Mark Trumbo will be a game-time decision. The Orioles remain unsure if Trumbo will be healthy enough to break camp with the club, manager Brandon Hyde said Thursday, just one weekend before the team heads to New York

BRADENTON, Fla. -- When it comes to Opening Day, it sounds like Mark Trumbo will be a game-time decision.

The Orioles remain unsure if Trumbo will be healthy enough to break camp with the club, manager Brandon Hyde said Thursday, just one weekend before the team heads to New York to start the season. The rehabbing slugger remains a candidate to begin the season on the injured list.

“We still haven’t made a decision on it,” Hyde said. “ I just think it’s a wait-and-see situation right now.”

Nearly nine months removed from major right knee surgery, Trumbo has avoided any setbacks since making his Grapefruit League debut March 13. But he’s been eased back into action; Trumbo has yet to play a full game and was shielded from Thursday’s matinee against the Pirates, a day game following a night game. He and the Orioles have both spent much of the spring characterizing Opening Day as a goal, not an end-all.

Trumbo is 2-for-10 with one walk across five spring games, all at designated hitter. There are no plans for him to play the field in 2019.

“We’d like for him to be comfortable and for him to feel like he’s fully healthy and his legs are underneath him to break,” Hyde said. "The injury and the recovery are so tricky."

What’s clear is how the decision, either way, will cause ripple effects across the roster. The O's have several options to plug in at DH should Trumbo remain in Sarasota, with Chris Davis and Trey Mancini among the regulars who profile well there. Doing so would give Baltimore the flexibility to carry an extra outfielder, perhaps Dwight Smith Jr., or travel north with both Renato Nunez and Rio Ruiz in the fold.

Trumbo, 33, is entering the final year of a three-year $37.5 million contract. He hit .261 with 17 home runs and a .764 OPS in 90 games in 2018.

Sucre sets sights on Opening Day

Another opt-out situation comes up on Friday, when the Orioles must decide whether or not to carry Jesús Sucre on their Opening Day roster. A leading contender for the club’s backup catcher job, Sucre has a clause in his contract that is set to trigger. It is the same type of clause that forced Baltimore’s hand with veteran shortstop Alcides Escobar on Wednesday. The club ultimately granted Escobar his release.

But the situation looks more promising for Sucre, a six-year veteran who owns more Major League experience (223 games) than any other backstop in camp. Sucre also sports the group's most stalwart defensive reputation; that holds value for a club preparing to trot out a slew of young pitchers this season. Also helping Sucre’s chances is that Austin Wynns remains sidelined with an oblique injury.

“I think he has a good chance to make the team,” Hyde said of Sucre. “He’s catching great, he throws great, does a really nice job behind the plate. He’s a Major League veteran. So yeah, he’s doing a nice job.”

Keeping Sucre would require the Orioles to clear a 40-man roster spot, since they inked Sucre to a Minor League deal on Feb. 1. He didn’t arrive in camp until more than a month later, held up for weeks due to visa issues in his native Venezuela. Sucre eventually traveled to Colombia to obtain his work visa. He’s appeared in six Grapefruit League games since arriving in Sarasota.

“I was working back home before I came down here,” Sucre said. “I feel like I’m not too far away from being ready.”

Roster moves

The O's trimmed their roster slightly on Thursday by reassigning infielder Jack Reinheimer and right-hander Josh Lucas to Minor League camp. The moves ended a stellar spring for Reinheimer, who slashed .393/.414/.571 while appearing in 21 spring games, mostly as a late-inning replacement. Reinheimer will likely begin the year at Triple-A Norfolk, where he’ll represent part of the organization’s depth at shortstop and a host of other positions. The 26-year-old can play anywhere in the infield as well as both corner outfield spots.

Up next

The Orioles head into the final weekend of Grapefruit League play behind right-hander Mike Wright, who appears to have the fifth-starter job locked up. Wright goes against Aaron Sanchez and the Blue Jays on Friday, with first pitch slated for 6:07 p.m. ET from Dunedin Stadium.

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