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Orioles lefty Wade Miley leaves start with mild muscle strain after 4 scoreless innings

Orioles lefty Wade Miley leaves start with mild muscle strain after 4 scoreless innings
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 18: Wade Miley #38 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches in the third inning during a baseball game against the against the Tampa Bay Rays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 18, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. He left before the fifth inning with an apparent injury. (Mitchell Layton / Getty Images)

Left-hander Wade Miley, on his way to his best start since joining the Orioles, was removed from Sunday's game while making his warmup throws before the fifth inning.

After a visit from manager Buck Showalter and head athletic trainer Richie Bancells, Miley came out with what the team later announced were upper-back cramps. He had thrown 67 pitches in four scoreless innings, and retired the first nine batters he faced.

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Showalter clarified after the game that Miley actually had a mild muscle strain. Miley said he felt something tighten just below his left shoulder during the final at-bat of the fourth inning.

On a pitch to right fielder Steven Souza Jr., Miley seemed to overthrow and go to the ground on his follow-through. Catcher Caleb Joseph came to the mound to check on him and give him a moment to regroup, which he did.

"I slipped on a pitch, trying to go fastball, away," Miley said. "I kind of lost my balance. I felt something grab in my shoulder blade area. It kind of stayed there and didn't go away, and in between innings, it kind of got a little worse. I felt it a little bit. I didn't think it was smart to stay out there and try to deal with it."

The early exit came in a much-needed strong start for Miley, who has been a disappointment since joining the team July 30 from the Seattle Mariners. He's made two quality starts in eight, and had an 8.41 ERA and a 1.87 WHIP in 35 1/3 innings.

He said it was tough to go out in the middle of what was shaping up to be his best appearance in seven weeks.

"Absolutely [frustrating]," he said. "I thought I had some command on the fastball. My game plan going in was to be able to execute. It's just one of those things, I guess."

Part of the draw in acquiring him was his durability. Miley has made at least 33 starts in each of the past four seasons, which he spent with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox.

He said he'd never felt such discomfort before, which was part of the alarm during the game. Postgame, however, Miley said "it feels a lot better now."

"At this stage of the season, I'll take the four" innings, Showalter said. "I'm hoping that he comes in tomorrow and feels good and is an option for us. ... I think we'll know a lot more tomorrow what we're dealing with."

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