Orioles right-hander Tommy Hunter, who was removed from the closer’s role last week, has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Wednesday, with a strained left groin.

Hunter said he felt discomfort in the groin while throwing during pregame warmups in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

“I threw a couple pitches and felt it and tried to get up on the mound, and it didn’t feel so good,” Hunter said. “If you can’t pitch, you can’t play.”

Hunter began the season as the Orioles closer and saved 11 of his first 12 chances, but he blew his final two and was continually in trouble during most of his outings. He didn’t have a clean inning, allowing 11 earned runs (6.06 ERA) on 25 hits, five walks and a hit batter in 16 1/3 innings.

Since he hadn’t felt the groin pain until Wednesday, Hunter dismissed any possibility that an injury contributed to his troubles on the mound.

“No, so there’s really no excuses for those [outings],” Hunter said. “Sorry. That’s what everybody is fishing for. I apologize. I can’t give you any of those answers.”

Hunter said he has had the issue previously when he played for the Texas Rangers, but he didn’t have any reoccurrences of it before Wednesday.

“Those were really bad ones, and then I did it again on the rehab stint, so it kind of set it back a little bit more,” Hunter said. “But hopefully I can get just get treatment and get back to go in a couple weeks.”

Hunter said he’s not sure if he’ll go with the team on its three-city road trip that starts Monday or stay back for treatment. Left-hander Zach Britton and right-hander Darren O’Day are the most likely to handle save opportunities.

To replace Hunter, the Orioles recalled right-hander Preston Guilmet, who had been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk last Tuesday. He didn’t have to stay 10 full days in the minors because he was replacing an injured player.

Guilmet, 26, struck out three of the five batters he faced for the Orioles in two games in relief this month. He didn’t allow a base runner. This week, he’ll have an opportunity to pitch against the Cleveland Indians, who traded him to the Orioles in April for minor league infielder Torsten Boss.

“We’ve got guys coming up. Preston did a [heck] of a job the last time he came up, and he’s probably going to do pretty well this time,” Hunter said. “So you’ve got guys to fill in, take the spots and hopefully wish them the best."

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

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