Orioles prospect Chris Lee pitches to one batter, suffers right oblique injury

The Orioles didn’t get much time to bask in the aftermath of Hunter Harvey’s successful Grapefruit League debut Tuesday.

The next pitcher to take the mound was another Orioles pitching prospect, left-hander Chris Lee, and he pitched to just one batter before leaving the game with what is believed to be a right oblique strain. Lee and outfielder Austin Hays (lat muscle) are scheduled to undergo MRIs on Wednesday morning.

Manager Buck Showalter said after the Orioles’ 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays that the injury had all the indicators of a strained oblique, which is a common and troublesome injury that typically keeps players out of action for four to six weeks.

“Oblique, looks like. It’s a pretty good pattern of the days it takes [to recover],” Showalter said. “That’s one injury that pretty much runs its course. It isn’t earlier and it isn’t later. So that’s what we think it is. He’s got all the symptoms of it.”

Last spring, it was an oblique strain that caused closer Zach Britton to miss most of spring training. It’s also an injury that has struck first baseman Chris Davis twice during his Orioles career.

“I ask a lot times, why the obliques?” Showalter said. “Most of them happen a certain time of the year. I can see the position players, they take a lot of swings. They have more avenues for reps than ever before. But pitchers, I think the [radar] guns have something to do with it. I think everybody is trying to torque every pitch and everything is max effort in today’s game. I think that’s why you’re seeing so many of the obliques. There’s a lot more stress, it seems like.”

Lee, 25, suffered the injury on the first pitch he threw to Rays leadoff hitter Denard Span in the third inning. He threw one more pitch, which resulted in a groundout, and then left the game.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

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