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Orioles' Darren O'Day exacerbated shoulder injury by pitching through it in Oakland

Manager Buck Showalter of the Baltimore Orioles takes Darren O'Day out of the game in the eighth inning after he gave up two runs to the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on Aug. 5, 2016 in Chicago.
Manager Buck Showalter of the Baltimore Orioles takes Darren O'Day out of the game in the eighth inning after he gave up two runs to the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on Aug. 5, 2016 in Chicago. (Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images)

Orioles reliever Darren O'Day, speaking for the first time since he went on the disabled list last Saturday with a right rotator cuff strain, said he tried to pitch through the injury earlier this month but believes he made it worse.

"I felt the pain Monday night [in Oakland on Aug. 8]," O'Day said. "I pitched a scoreless inning, we ended up losing, 3-2. I felt it against Billy Butler. I threw a fastball away, and had a really stiff shoulder the next few days. Tried to manage it, but going out and pitching didn't make it better."

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O'Day flew back to Baltimore on Aug. 12 to have his shoulder examined, and was placed on the DL after a cortisone shot the following day. Even with the shot, which is meant to reduce inflammation, O'Day said he's still in the pain removal stage of his recovery.

"I'm feeling better every day," O'Day said. "The first thing you've got to do is get rid of the pain. Then you've got to get strength back, and then you've got to start throwing. Right now, we're still getting rid of the pain and starting exercises. I probably should have known better than to throw again when it was already sore. But it's part of being a relief pitcher. Being a player here is dealing with soreness.

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"I think I made it worse when I went out there and pitched, but it is what it is. I'm working to get it back as fast as I can. There's no timetable. These guys won't get me an idea of when I'll be back. Obviously, I'd like it to be at the end of the 15 days. I haven't started throwing yet, and there's no plan to do it tomorrow. That's about it."

O'Day is in his second stint on the DL this season. He missed more than seven weeks with a high hamstring strain that was slow to heal. On either side of that injury, he posted a 3.95 ERA in 27 1/3 innings. He allowed five runs in eight appearances after his return from his first DL stint, with two of those coming on Aug. 11 in Oakland, when he believes he exacerbated the injury.

It's all a far cry from O'Day's previous four years with the Orioles, when he was as reliable and effective as they come, earning the organziation's faith with a four-year, $31 million contract this past offseason.

"I've been spending some time trying to figure out what might have exposed me to injuries," O'Day said. "I'm still working on some stuff. I don't know. I haven't been injured in a long time, and to do it twice in one year is frustrating. But it's the nature of the game, when you play this many games.

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"The previous injury could have contributed to this one. You don't know. It happened to me in 2011. I hurt my hip labrum, came back too soon, hurt my shoulder and got designated. That's why I'm here. I don't want to say it's predictable, but it's happened to me before. ... But it's frustrating for sure. I miss the competition. It affects you every moment of the day because all you're thinking about is getting back."

Around the horn

Shortstop J.J. Hardy turned 34 on Friday, a day after swatting two home runs in Thursday's win over the Houston Astros. Showalter joked that you'd have thought it was Hardy's birthday the day before, with how he played. … In his second rehabilitation appearance Thursday for High-A Frederick, left-hander T.J. McFarland (left knee) allowed two runs on three hits with a walk and three strikeouts in two innings. … Outfielder Joey Rickard (right thumb ligament) returned to Sarasota, Fla., to work with rehab coordinator Dave Walker after having a doctor's appointment Monday. Showalter said the team will try to add one or two players with speed when rosters expand Sept. 1 to replace Rickard. … The first 25,000 fans ages 15 and older at Saturday's game get a "Crush Davis" bobblehead featuring Orioles first baseman in a superhero costume and his dog, Samson.

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