Orioles put Chris Davis on IL, summon prospect Mountcastle

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
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BALTIMORE — Slumping Chris Davis has been placed on the 10-day injured list by the Baltimore Orioles, who recalled highly touted prospect Ryan Mountcastle and made him their starting left fielder Friday night against Boston.

Davis headed to IL with a .122 batting average and patellar tendinitis in his left knee. Currently in the fifth season of a $161 million, seven-year contract, the former two-time home run champion has only six hits – none of them homers – and one RBI.

“He mentioned it to me about four or five days ago,” manager Brandon Hyde said of Davis’ injury. “We just felt like the right thing to do was to put him on the IL to get treatment and let the knee get some rest. It was really sore yesterday.”

Davis has been struggling at the plate since 2017, and last year he batted .179 with 12 homers. This season is going even worse for the 34-year-old, who played his way out of the starting lineup.

Hyde wouldn’t blame Davis’ woes entirely on a sore knee, especially since the former slugger wasn’t hitting before it because an issue.

“I don’t think that it’s helped,” said Hyde, who couldn’t predict how long Davis would be on the IL.

Drafted with the 36th overall pick in the 2015 draft, the 23-year-old Mountcastle has moved up the minor league ladder while playing a variety of positions. His prowess at the plate, however, has been a constant. He was the International League MVP last year and the named the organization’s top position player after batting .312 with 25 homers and 83 RBIs for Triple-A Norfolk.

Hyde has often said this season that the team was waiting for Mountcastle to improve his outfield play before giving him his first shot in the big leagues, and the 23-year-old finally made the grade while at the team’s alternate site in Bowie, Maryland.

“We feel comfortable with the work he’s put in,” Hyde said. “This isn’t a snap decision. It’s something we talked about for a while, and we felt like today was the day. We’re all on board with him to make his debut.”

The 12-13 Orioles are one game out of a postseason spot in MLB’s expanded playoff format but also took a five-game losing streak into Friday’s game. Mountcastle’s presence in the lineup injected a shot of enthusiasm for a team coming off two straight 100-loss seasons.

“For one of our homegrown guys to make it, it’s exciting for the whole organization,” Hyde said. “A lot of people put a lot of work into this.”

The fans have been clamoring to see Mountcastle, too.

“A lot of people have reading about him, and now they get a chance to see him play,” Hyde said.

Mountcastle said he was “chilling in bed” when he got the call of his promotion.

“I couldn’t be any more happier,” Mountcastle said. “I was just hoping to get my shot, and just be ready when I did. I feel prepared for the games coming up.”