BALTIMORE - Tommy Hunter began to feel pain when he was throwing before Wednesday's game in Pittsburgh. On Thursday, the Baltimore Orioles pitcher was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left groin strain.
Hunter hadn't been having much success in his first season as a closer. Despite having 11 saves, Hunter has a 6.06 ERA and blew each of his last two save opportunities. But Hunter said Thursday his recent struggles have nothing to do with the groin strain and that he felt nothing before Wednesday.
"I threw a couple of pitches and felt it," Hunter said. "It didn't feel so good. If you can't pitch, you can't play."
This isn't a new injury for Hunter, as he said he had groin strains when he played for the Texas Rangers.
"It's not fun, but you have to get through it," Hunter said. "Hopefully I just get treatment and will be ready to go in a couple weeks."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he feels this is a similar situation to Chris Davis' recent oblique strain and hopes they will be able to take care of it before it becomes a more serious injury.
"We're hoping to catch this in the infancy of what could be a lot worse," Showalter said. "I think he, from a maturity standpoint, knows his history, where it is, and what could happen if we didn't try to use some caution with it."
To fill Hunter's spot in the bullpen, the Orioles recalled Preston Guilmet from Class-AAA Norfolk. Guilmet was with Baltimore briefly earlier this month and pitched 1 2-3 innings of scoreless relief.
PATERNITY LEAVE: Orioles first baseman Chris Davis is expected to miss Sunday's game against Cleveland and Monday's game in Milwaukee to be with his wife, Jill, for the birth of his first child.
There is a chance he leaves before Sunday, but the doctors will be inducing labor if Davis' wife does not have the baby before then. Baltimore will likely recall an infielder, possibly Jemile Weeks or Steve Lombardozzi, to take Davis' spot on the roster.
SANTANA UPDATE: Johan Santana threw his fourth extended spring training game on Thursday, throwing four-plus innings. Showalter said Santana will pitch in one more extended spring game before being assigned to a minor-league affiliate.