ARLINGTON -- The inevitable roster move arrived just before game time in Arlington on Thursday, when the Orioles announced outfielder DJ Stewart was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right ankle sprain. To fill his spot, outfielder Stevie Wilkerson was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk, and he was in the lineup for the series finale against the Rangers, leading off and playing center field.
Stewart suffered the ankle sprain in the sixth inning of the Orioles' 2-1 loss Wednesday, after colliding with Hanser Alberto while fielding a pop fly in foul territory.
Stewart said the ankle was swollen and sore when he woke up in the morning.
"I knew I was going to be sore, but it's more than I expected," he said. "All the tiny ligaments and tiny bones in there, I'm just fortunate that nothing's broken. Hopefully we'll get it healed sooner than later."
Wilkerson, 27, brings much-needed versatility to a banged-up Orioles roster that lost three players to injury one day earlier. While catcher Pedro Severino (head contusion) and infielder Jonathan Villar (sore right thumb) have both avoided the IL for now, the Orioles began Thursday's contest with only one healthy bench player.
Wilkerson’s versatility could give the O’s a boost this weekend in Houston, given he has experience playing all over the infield and at all three outfield positions.
Credit home plate umpire Brian O'Nora for alerting Hyde that something wasn't right with Severino after the catcher was hit squarely in the mask by Delino DeShields' foul tip in the first inning Wednesday.
Severino said he didn't feel any immediate effects from the initial hit, but after a while, he started feeling dizzy.
O'Nora kept up a steady stream of communication with Severino, repeatedly asking him how he was feeling. Severino assured the umpire he was OK, and seemed somewhat convincing -- until Severino had to put a knee down to gather himself after one particular pitch.
"I put my knee down and said, 'I don't feel good,'" Severino said. "The umpire asked me, 'Really, you don't feel good?' I said, 'No. I don't feel good right now, but don't call anybody. I don't want to come out of the game.'"
O'Nora immediately signaled for Hyde and an athletic trainer to come out to look at the catcher.
Severino recalled two other times he was hit in the head -- once by a breaking pitch during an at-bat in April, and once after he came out of a Winter Ball game in the Dominican Republic.
"I sat in the corner, drinking water,” he said. “That was my first time just watching the game. I saw a foul line drive coming right to my face.”
Severino turned his head just in time, and the ball hit him on the back of his head, near his neck.
Villar's injury was more of an aggravation of a prior thumb ailment that he suffered last year. To protect that area of his hand, he tries to avoid making any contact with the ground when he's sliding, but he couldn't avoid it during one particular play Wednesday. He immediately felt a sting, and he was soon lifted from the game as a precaution.
Villar was out of the lineup Thursday, but he entered the game as a pinch-runner for Chance Sisco in the ninth and stole second base.