Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Orioles lose game and possibly All-Star Davis

BALTIMORE - Just when it seemed like the Orioles were about to get healthy, the arrival of one All-Star may be met with the departure of another.

Manny Machado's first step toward coming of the disabled list, which took place Friday night in Class-A Frederick, was tempered when first baseman Chris Davis left in the middle of Baltimore's game against Kansas City with what the team called a left oblique strain.

The Orioles lost 5-0, with Ubaldo Jimenez struggling once more, but most of the 22,478 fans at Camden Yards were curious about the health of their slugger.

Davis made it through two at-bats, a strikeout and fly out against KC rookie Yordano Ventura, but didn't look comfortable at the plate. Baltimore manager Buck Showalter noticed it too, and Davis left after four innings.

Davis said he received treatment when he came out, and again afterward. He'd been dealing with some discomfort for a few days, he said, and despite feeling good during batting practice he couldn't find it again once the game started.

"I think this time of the year, it's early, it's cold outside, the weather's not the most ideal," Davis said. "You're going to have aches and pains. ... At that point, Buck kind of took it out of my hands. Something that we're going to keep an eye on and hopefully not let it get too bad right now. It's too early for that."

Ryan Flaherty moved from third base to first as Davis' replacement, and Steve Lombardozzi came in to play second with Jonathan Schoop going from second to third.

It mattered little against the hard-throwing Ventura (2-1), who struck out eight and scattered seven hits in his seventh career start.

Ventura, Kansas City's minor league pitcher of the year in 2013, threw a fastball last season that reportedly clocked in at nearly 103 mph. He didn't surpass 100 on Friday, but kept his heater in the upper 90s and mixed in a change-up and curveball that had the Orioles (11-11) flailing.

"That kid's special, to say the least," said center fielder Adam Jones, who went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. "His change-up I think is the pitch that keeps people off his fastball. His curveball was filthy. I don't like to tip my cap but the guy's got some good stuff and he went out there and showed it tonight."

Kansas City (11-11) chased Jimenez in the seventh and took a 4-0 lead behind RBI singles from Nori Aoki and Omar Infante. Aoki's single to right capped Jimenez's outing, and T.J. McFarland came in to allow Infante's run-scoring hit to left.

Jimenez fell to 0-4 with a 6.59 ERA, and said he's glad to see April come to a close.

"I'm trying to do everything possible to be there for the team," he said. "I know things have to change. It seems like every time I go out there I find a way to lose the game."

Jimenez struggled in the first inning and the Royals made him pay. Four consecutive KC batters reached base, with Billy Butler and Alex Gordon delivering RBI singles. Jimenez walked Infante and allowed a hit to Eric Hosmer before Butler and Gordon gave the Royals the lead.

He settled down in the middle innings and retired 12 of 13 batters before finding trouble in the seventh. But Jimenez's trouble was the least of the Orioles' worries.

"CD is a big, big part of our lineup and part of our plan," Jones said about Davis, who is batting .250 with two home runs and 13 RBIS.

"Whatever it is, you just want him to take his time and not rush it because it could be longer."

Showalter said he spoke with Dan Duquette, the club's executive vice president of baseball operations, to map out a plan should Davis need to visit the DL. Davis said he'd know more Saturday about his strained left side.

"He's a tough guy. He plays through a lot of things," Showalter said. "You take the proper precautions and see where you are in the next couple of days. He's worth waiting on."

NOTE: The Orioles optioned McFarland to Class-AAA Norfolk following Friday's game.