The Orioles bolstered their outfield depth on Saturday by activating DJ Stewart from the 10-day injured list. Sidelined since March 5 with a left hamstring strain, Stewart was batting fifth and playing left field in Saturday’s starting lineup against the Red Sox for his season debut.
The O’s optioned utility man Pat Valaika to their alternate training site in a corresponding move on Friday, leaving Ramón Urías as the lone backup infielder on their three-man bench. Valaika was 1-for-9 to begin the season. Stewart had been at the alternate site since the Orioles headed north for Opening Day, getting at-bats in simulated game settings.
“We tried to make it as game-like as we could,” Stewart said. “I’ve been hitting since Spring Training while I was still not playing in games. That was also the same thing I was doing at the alternate site.”
The O’s first-round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, Stewart reached the big leagues down the stretch in 2018, but he has been limited to just 92 games due to injuries and inconsistency. He slashed .193/.355/.455 with seven homers, 15 RBIs, 20 walks and 38 strikeouts in 31 games in 2020, then he homered in two of his first three Grapefruit League games this spring before pulling his left hamstring running down the first-base line against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla. Stewart ended up missing more than a month due to the issue.
“It definitely took…