Trumbo makes long-awaited 2019 debut

O's slugger returns to play first big league game since Aug. 19, 2018

September 2nd, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG -- There was finally light at the end of the tunnel for , and no one was happier about it than the Orioles’ designated hitter/outfielder himself.

Baltimore activated the 33-year-old on Monday, bringing to a close Trumbo’s long road back from right knee issues that had prevented him from playing for more than a year. Trumbo was batting sixth and serving as the DH in Monday's series opener against the Rays.

That marked the first big league game for the 10-year MLB veteran since Aug. 19, 2018, against the Indians. Shortly afterward, Trumbo elected to have season-ending surgery on the knee.

“It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “You know, with this, I had pretty high hopes going into surgery, and then there’s been a few roadblocks along the way, some stops and starts. All the while, I kept thinking that once we got far enough out, things can kind of come around, and I think at this point, it’s cooperated enough that I can get out there.”

Last season, the two-time All-Star slashed .261/.313/.452 with 17 home runs and 44 RBIs in 90 games. Trumbo experienced a few setbacks in his comeback attempt as knee issues flared up. After stalling rehab assignments at Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk, he received a platelet-rich plasma injection on June 13.

Trumbo went 4-for-20 during his most recent rehab stint, a five-game stretch with Norfolk that began Tuesday. While he said he likely won’t play first base because of the extra bending the position requires, Trumbo said he’s healthy and ready to contribute.

“Some days are better than others. Some days are really good,” he said. “If I do a lot, or if I’m heavily involved, I can kind of predict the next day there’ll be some soreness and some swelling. We’ve got a great team here to try and manage the symptoms, and with any luck, we’ll have a lot of productivity.”

While O’s manager Brandon Hyde has already said Trumbo will not play every day, there is certainly something to be said for the emotional boost the slugger adds to a clubhouse stocked with youth.

“It’s a big deal for a lot of people,” Hyde said. “It was awesome to catch him this morning, and just to have him here -- in uniform, in the lineup -- is going to be a great feeling.

“He’s been a great teammate in the clubhouse a lot this year, supporting our guys in the dugout. It’s also a big deal for our training staff that put in a lot of time. I know it’s a great feeling for everybody involved to have him back on the field and in the lineup.”

Trumbo is in the final year of a three-year, $37.5 million contract.

Now pitching: TBA

The projected arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Florida caused the O’s and Rays to shift Wednesday’s game into a straight doubleheader on Tuesday as a precaution. That way, should Dorian dramatically affect the Tampa Bay area, the Orioles will at least have time to leave the area before its arrival.

Because of the move, Baltimore has yet to settle on starters for either game Tuesday, with Hyde saying the decision will largely depend on how the O’s bullpen is used during Monday’s day game.