Hays to IL (hamstring); McKenna arrives

April 5th, 2021

The Orioles arrived at Yankee Stadium on Monday riding high after their opening-series sweep of the Red Sox, but under the realization they’ll need to press forward without one of their most dynamic players. The club placed on the 10-day injured list prior to Monday’s series opener, one day after Hays strained his right hamstring diving back into second base in Boston. Outfield prospect was recalled from the taxi squad in a corresponding move.

Additionally, the club activated right-hander from the paternity list and optioned . Sulser pitched two scoreless innings Sunday in his season debut.

Speaking in his pregame media session, O’s manager Brandon Hyde declined to discuss the severity of Hays’ injury because the transaction was not yet official. But hamstring injuries are soft-tissue issues that often require several weeks to heal and sometimes linger, depending on the situation.

Hays, 25, was not made available to discuss his injury Sunday or Monday. He joins DJ Stewart as the second Orioles outfielder sidelined by a hamstring issue; Stewart tweaked his left hamstring March 5, but he could return to the active roster by this weekend.

What’s clear is it’s the latest hurdle for the dynamic but injury-prone Hays, who has missed time to ankle, shoulder, wrist, rib and leg injuries over the past several seasons. He was limited to 33 games in 2020 due to a broken rib, hitting .279 with four homers and a .722 OPS.

Hays then arrived at Spring Training fully healthy and enjoyed the most productive camp of any Oriole, hitting .392 with four homers and a 1.192 OPS in 18 games. He started in left field in each of Baltimore’s first three regular-season games, sliding Ryan Mountcastle to designated hitter at Fenway Park with its difficult outfield dimensions. Hays went 2-for-10 to open the year, including a two-run double off Josh Taylor on Sunday, before sustaining the injury diving back into second ahead of an Enrique Hernández throw two batters later.

The situation opens a door, at least temporarily, for McKenna, who spent several weeks on the taxi squad late last season. The O’s No. 15 prospect per MLB Pipeline, McKenna was their fourth-round Draft pick in 2015, and spent most of 2018-19 at Double-A Bowie. He made his Major League debut Monday, batting ninth and starting in right field.