FREDERICK — Orioles outfielder Steve Pearce went 1-for-2 and reached base three times in his first rehab start for High-A Frederick on Monday night. He batted second and started at first base.
Pearce, who has been on the disabled list since June 20 with wrist tendonitis, said before the game he’s finally pain free, but said there’s no timetable for his return to the Orioles. Previous reports projected an early August return for Pearce. He went 2-for-4 in his only official Gulf Coast League at-bats Friday.
“It’s feeling good,” Pearce said. “I’m ready to go, and now I think the goal is to get some at-bats and getting ready to return to Baltimore.”
He hasn’t played since June 19 at Detroit, when he appeared in a 13-3 Orioles win as a defensive replacement. His last at-bat was June 17 in a 5-1 loss to the Tigers, and his last start was in a June 16 win over Boston.
Pearce’s lone hit came in the third inning with two outs when he took an 0-1 pitch into right field. He walked on a full count in the first inning and was hit by a pitch in the eighth. In the fifth, he grounded into an inning-ending double play.
“I thought it took a little bit longer than expected because I didn’t know the significance of the injury,” Pearce said. “I just knew it bothered me. I didn’t think it would take two sets of shots to get it right. It was a pretty significant injury.”
Pearce said in June he thought the issues cropped up after taking too many swings in the batting cages. He was sent to Sarasota, Fla., for his initial rehab, which included taking time off from baseball activities while his wrists healed.
“It’s difficult because you’re healthy,” Pearce said. “It only hurts swinging bats, so I felt like I could lift weights, do everything and I’m fine. It was hurting the psyche a little bit because I was like, ‘Man, I want to get back out there.’ It was one of those things, you got to pull the reins a little bit because you go back out there, you’re just going to hurt yourself.”
Pearce has a .235/.311/.383 slash line in 28 games. He’s has three home runs and nine RBIs, and he’s spent time at designated hitter, first base and in the corner outfield spots.“For me, the biggest thing is swinging pain free, so the at-bats will come, I just got to get my timing right,” Pearce said. “It’s nice to be able to unload on a pitch or swing and not have that fear of having that pain resurface. I’m able to trust my swing again, so that’s just the positive for right now.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun