If Austin Hays should miss time, the Orioles will have some decisions to make in their outfield
On Sunday, the Baltimore Orioles removed outfielder Austin Hays in the third inning of the team’s 11-3 win over the Boston Red Sox due to “right hamstring discomfort” according to a report from Dan Connolly of The Athletic.
Hays started Sunday’s game in left field, making two plate appearances. In his second, he hit a line-drive double to score Rio Ruiz and Maikel Franco during what was a 7-run third inning for Baltimore. The hamstring appeared to have bothered him while running the bases during his double, which is what prompted Orioles manager Brandon Hyde to remove Hays from the game. Pat Valaika took over left field duties for the remainder of the afternoon, scoring a run and knocking in a base hit of his own in the fourth inning.
As it was today, Valaika is the seemingly obvious choice for the next-man-up should Hays miss a significant chunk of time, especially with DJ Stewart currently on the Orioles’ 10-day injured list with a hamstring injury of his own. Although Ryan Mountcastle has yet to appear in the field in 2021, starting each game of the series in Boston as the Orioles’ designated hitter, he started 23 games in left field during the truncated 2020 season.
Here’s what Hyde had to say in his postgame press conference regarding Hays’ injury, according to Roch Kubatko’s report for MASN:
"“Actually I didn’t see it,” manager Brandon Hyde said in his Zoom call. “It was such a confusing play that I had the phone ringing behind me twice, and all of a sudden, he’s coming off the field even though I saw him, Nic (Lentz) at first base give the sign where it’s going to be a base hit and not a catch. Then I see Austin running to the dugout and I was a little bit confused at that point. I think everybody else was.[“]"
In his 10 at-bats so far in 2021, Hays has 2 hits, 2 RBI, and a run scored. According to Hyde, Hays will be reevaluated on Monday prior to the team’s matchup against the New York Yankees.