Orioles closer Félix Bautista exited in the ninth inning of Friday night’s game against the Colorado Rockies with right arm discomfort, manager Brandon Hyde said after the comeback win.
One strike away from a save, Bautista fired a 102.3 mph fastball for a ball to Colorado’s Michael Toglia. The 6-foot-8 right-hander fell off to the first base side after releasing the pitch and squeezed his right hand multiple times after he regained his balance.
The Orioles convened at the mound, with head athletic trainer Brian Ebel and other members of the Orioles’ staff tending to Bautista. After a minute, he exited the game. Left-hander Danny Coulombe replaced him and needed just one pitch to strike out Toglia and save the 5-4 victory.
Hyde said he would not discuss the extent or nature of Bautista’s arm discomfort. The fifth-year manager did say Bautista wasn’t dealing with any ailments and that his All-Star closer “felt good” before the game.
“Bautista left the game there with some arm discomfort,” he said. “He’s still being checked out. I’m not going to discuss it any further than that. We’re going to get a bunch of tests and see how it is.”
Bautista’s exit put a damper on the win — the Orioles’ 39th come-from-behind triumph this year.
“When the best closer in the game leaves the game, that’s never a good feeling,” Hyde said. “Hopefully he’s OK tomorrow.”
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Starting pitcher Cole Irvin and infielder Gunnar Henderson, the latter of whom was the hero Friday with his go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning, said they didn’t know the extent of Bautista’s discomfort.
“I just hope that it’s nothing serious, hopefully it’s just like day-to-day,” Henderson said.
“I just saw him fall off kind of awkwardly,” he added. “I just hope he gets better.”
Bautista is perhaps the best closer in baseball. In just his second big league season, the 28-year-old entered Friday with an 8-2 record, a 1.49 ERA and a whopping 46.4% strikeout rate while being tied for the American League lead with 33 saves.
“He’s been electric for us,” Irvin said. “I know the fans love him. You want one of your best guys to still be pitching for you. Hopefully it’s nothing negative and he just needs a little bit of time, but don’t know what’s going to happen, don’t know what to expect.
“He’s been huge for us. Honestly, he’d have my Cy Young vote. He’s been that good.”