One of the biggest Orioles roster questions of spring training has been: Will Mark Trumbo be ready to play on Opening Day? Four days before the start of the season, there is finally an answer. No. Manager Brandon Hyde confirmed to O’s reporters on Sunday morning that Trumbo will begin the season on the injured list. You used to know it as the disabled list.
With Trumbo only getting into Grapefruit League games about a week and a half ago and being limited to just a couple of at-bats per game as the designated hitter only, it’s not a shock to learn that he will not be healthy enough to start the season. As Hyde also told reporters, there hasn’t been any setback leading to this decision. There just hasn’t been enough time for Trumbo to recover since his knee surgery last September.
Now that we know Trumbo is out of the Opening Day roster picture, the shape of what the Orioles will look like is that much more clear. Hyde indicated that the designated hitter spot could remain “fluid” without Trumbo.
If that means that poor Trey Mancini can be freed from left field with the Trumbo/Chris Davis 1B/DH logjam temporarily cleared, that will be good. It’s a less exciting development than it might have seemed two weeks ago before the O’s sent all the young outfielders down to the minors to begin the season.
It’s also possible that Renato Nunez parks at DH while resting his sore biceps that only hurts when he throws, leaving Mancini stuck in the outfield. It’s yet another reminder that the most exciting team that the Orioles will field in 2019 is not going to be the one that takes the field on Opening Day.
How long Trumbo might remain on the injured list isn’t something that the O’s have immediately indicated. He is expected to remain in Sarasota for extended spring training to keep getting back into game shape. Presumably, once he’s physically ready, they can then send him on a minor league rehab to get him back into the groove of regularly facing professional pitching before adding him to the O’s MLB roster mix. There is no need to rush.