The injuries being nursed by Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo have put a couple more question marks on the Orioles Opening Day roster. Although Trumbo was back in the lineup on Wednesday, this did not go well, with Trumbo instead needing an MRI that revealed a grade 2 strain of his quad. The new timetable for Trumbo’s absence, announced after Thursday’s spring training game, is 3-4 weeks.
As Opening Day is two weeks away, this is now something that will officially impact the Opening Day roster. Trumbo will be on the disabled list when games start and will miss at least one week of the season. That’s not a very long absence, and still won’t be even if he misses four weeks instead, but it’s still enough to impact the first handful of games.
After “How long?” the next question about any given injury is, “Who’s going to replace him?” With Trumbo being either a designated hitter who doesn’t hit very well when he’s a DH, or a right fielder who doesn’t field very well when he’s a RF, they could go multiple ways with that roster spot.
My best guess is that it means Pedro Alvarez will start the season with the big league club. He could be the designated hitter whenever there’s not a left-handed starting pitcher without disrupting the rest of the roster very much.
If the Orioles are really feeling feisty, they might toss strong spring performer Anthony Santander, a switch-hitter with less than 100 plate appearances above High-A due to his Rule 5 status, in as the Trumbo substitute. Santander has to hang around on the MLB roster for at least another 44 days due to his being a Rule 5 pick. It’s not a bad opportunity for the Orioles to take a look and see what he has to offer.
The Orioles can still do whatever they’re going to do with Colby Rasmus or Danny Valencia without really being affected by Trumbo’s status over the next few weeks.
It’s not the greatest sign for hoping for a bounce-back season from Trumbo when he won’t even be healthy to start the year. Maybe he comes off the DL mashing like it’s 2016 again, or maybe he will be rusty and scuffle more along the lines of last year’s .234/.289/.397 batting line, where he hit only 23 home runs in the year of the homer. That’s now something to worry about a few weeks down the road.