The Orioles received promising news Saturday after an MRI performed on first baseman Steve Pearce’s strained right abdomen revealed no tear, indicating the injury isn’t serious and won’t force one of the club’s hottest hitters to miss an extended amount of time.
“Guys have so many little things along the way,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “The big challenge is deciding what’s risky to continue and something you’ve just got to play through. … Steve was pretty frank with me and I thought we were running some risk to continue. He’d probably have continued if it was a playoff game or something, if we we’re fortunate enough to get there. I’m hoping it’s something we can get behind us at some point.”
While there’s no definitive timetable on a return, Showalter said he considered Pearce day-to-day. Pearce was also optimistic, but he said he will be relegated to rest and treatment for now and won’t be doing any baseball activities for “the next couple days.”
“Very relieved,” Pearce said of the MRI results. “It’s just what I thought. Wanted to take care of it before it got out of hand. I think right now we’re just working on day-to-day. Hopefully in the next couple days, it will get better and I can get back to working on baseball activities. … I think we got out in front of this where it will be easy to treat and I’ll be able to be day-by-day.”
Pearce abruptly left Friday’s game before the top of the fourth inning. Showalter said Pearce didn’t aggravate the injury on any specific play but wanted to remove Pearce as a precaution to prevent the injury from developing into something worse.
Pearce said he was dealing with some discomfort on Thursday and it lingered into the early part of Friday’s game. After his first at-bat Friday, he told Orioles hitting coach Jim Presley that he didn’t feel right. The fact that Pearce — who has been the everyday starter at first base with Chris Davis moving to third base to replace Manny Machado — is a tireless worker, added to the concern, Showalter said.
“We’ve talked to him a few times,” Showalter said. “He got on the DL last year because of the tendinitis in both wrists. You’ve got to almost [tell him], ‘Hey you’re playing every day now.’ And he’s done a good job with it.”
Pearce had an 11-game hit streak that was snapped Friday and was hitting .333/375/.778 (15-for-45) with 10 extra-base hits (five doubles and five homers) over the course of his streak.
Utility man Jimmy Paredes, who entered Friday’s game to play third when Pearce left, made his first start as an Oriole on Saturday, with Davis back at first base. But Pearce hopes he is back soon.
“As far as just doing regular things, I don’t really feel it,” Pearce said. “I only feel it on the baseball field, so that’s another good sign. … We’re in high hopes that it’s not that bad and that we can get out here in the next couple days.”
Trade deadline approaches Sunday
The Orioles have until midnight Sunday to add players from other organizations and have them be eligible for postseason rosters. The club was pursuing trade opportunities as of Saturday afternoon.
“We’ve got a couple of things in the air [that] may affect who we call up by some things that happen the next couple of days,” said Showalter, who added that team brass discussed both trade options and September callups before Saturday’s game.
Teams wishing to test trade waters with players must first place those players on waivers. If a player is claimed, the team that can either pull the player back, allow the claiming team to take that player and his current contract with nothing sent back in return or attempt to work out a trade over the next 48 hours. Once a player has cleared trade waivers, any team can attempt to work out a deal for that player.
Because the Orioles have the third-best record in the American League — and the claiming order goes in reverse — they are ahead of only the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics when it comes to being able to claim an AL player. For a National League player, they are 28th, behind all of the NL teams and most of the AL ones.
The Orioles have called up two left-handed hitting position players — catcher Steve Clevenger and switch-hitting utility man Paredes — but the club would still like to add a player who can add infield depth, especially with Machado and Pearce out with injuries.
Around the horn:
The Orioles’ win Friday was their 11th series-opening victory in their last 13. The Orioles are 28-17 in series openers, including 15-7 at home. … The Orioles’ bullpen entered Saturday’s game with a 1.57 ERA over their past 33 games, during which they lowered their season ERA from 3.49 to 3.02. Orioles relievers own the AL’s fourth-best ERA. … The Orioles entered Saturday’s game with a 14-16 record against the AL Central. They are 63-40 against the rest of baseball. … Both Nelson Cruz and Davis hit two grand slams this season. The last Orioles player to his three slams in a season was Chris Hoiles in 1998. … Former Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold made his debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday, starting in left field and hitting eighth. … Triple-A Norfolk went into Saturday’s game with a 3.01 team ERA in August, lowest in the International League this month. … Norfolk added right-handed pitcher Matt Bischoff from Double-A Bowie and reassigned right-hander Josh Stinson to the Gulf Coast League. … The Orioles are slated to face right-hander Mat Latos (Tuesday), right-hander Dylan Axelrod (Wednesday) and right-hander Mike Leake (Thursday) in their three-game interleague series against the Cincinnati Reds this week.