Orioles left-hander Randy Wolf is dealing with elbow discomfort and could be lost for the remainder of the regular season and postseason, though he has not made a final decision on his immediate future.
Wolf told reporters that he wanted the team to release information on his elbow, including results of Tuesday morning’s MRI, before answering specific questions.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter, however, was purposely vague when talking with the media before Tuesday’s game, saying that Wolf will discuss the situation with team orthopedist John Wilckens and Los Angeles Angels team doctor Lewis Yocum, who performed Wolf’s 2005 elbow ligament (Tommy John) surgery, before making a decision on what path to take.
“There are two or three options,” Showalter said. “Randy’s still got some questions he wants to ask Dr. Wilckens and Dr. Yocum before he and we make a definite decision about his availability for the rest of the year.”
When asked if there was a possibility that Wolf could pitch again this season for the Orioles, Showalter said that was “one scenario.”
Any time Yocum is mentioned, surgery also looms as a possibility. But Showalter said Yocum could give the best diagnosis after taking a look at the MRI results.
“He is the one guy that has seen inside his elbow, knows exactly what he had to do last time and he is able to look at these pictures and see where he is,” Showalter said. “Will he be able to pitch in two or three days and what [are the] ramifications if we did something that might mask something? That we’re not going to do. This is about not only this season, but from Randy’s standpoint, the rest of his career. Nothing is imminent as far as moves on it until he speaks to Wilckens and Yocum.”
Showalter said Wolf first felt the pain while pitching in Saturday’s fifth inning in Boston.
“I guess his last inning, he reached back for a curveball and felt some things were a little different than normal discomfort that pitchers feel every time they cock their arm,” Showalter said.
The 36-year-old Wolf, who was released by the Milwaukee Brewers on Aug. 22, signed with the Orioles as a free agent Aug. 31, allowing him to be eligible for the club’s postseason roster. In five games (two starts) with the Orioles, he was 2-0 with a 5.28 ERA.
“He’s having a blast here, contributing to a team trying to compete to get into the playoffs,” Showalter said. “Anything that may cast some shadow of doubt over whether he can continue to do that is emotional for all of us.”
Wolf’s spot on the potential postseason roster already seemed tenuous, with the Orioles likely to choose lefty relievers Brian Matusz, Troy Patton and possibly Zach Britton over him. But Showalter did not discount the role the veteran could have served for the team.
“It’s a loss if we do lose him,” Showalter said. “Unfortunately, we have had a lot experience with that this year, as you’ve seen. I think we are better with him. … Don’t think for a second we don’t look at it as a loss, if it so happens.”
Here's what else was going on in the Orioles' clubhouse pregame:
-- The Orioles lineup was posted unusually late this afternoon. That's because Lew Ford was scratched from the DH spot, replaced by Steve Tolleson. Showalter said Ford has been dealing with groin soreness since after Sunday's game in Boston. He didn't play in Game 2 of Monday's doubleheader against left-hander Ricky Romero.
-- Before tonight's game, right-hander Jason Hammel is throwing his first bullpen session off a full mound since reaggravating his right-knee injury. Showalter said Hammel is experimenting with a new knee brace.
-- Right-fielder Nick Markakis recieved a new hard cast for his right thumb. He's slated to get the pins taken out next week when the Orioles are in Tampa Bay. Showalter said after that Markakis is "hopefully potentially on the fast track."
Here are today's starting lineups:
Nate McLouth LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Mark Reynolds 1B
Chris Davis RF
Manny Machado 3B
Steve Tolleson DH
Robert Andino 2B
Joe Saunders LHP
Brett Lawrie 3B
Colby Rasmus CF
Edwin Encarnacion DH
Yunel Escobar SS
Yan Gomes 1B
Rajai Davis RF
Adeiny Hechavarria 2B
J.P. Arencibia C
Anthony Gose LF
Aaron Laffey LHP
Baltimore Sun reporter Eduardo A. Encina contributed to this article.