Orioles left fielder Dwight Smith Jr. capped a miserable week of injury scares for the team Thursday when he ran hard into the outfield wall at Globe Life Park. He eventually exited the Orioles’ 4-3 loss to enter the concussion protocol and left his teammates hoping for some relief from this run of bad health.
"He’s going to be out for a while," manager Brandon Hyde said. "He’s going through concussion protocol, they’re going to X-ray his shoulder up here that he banged in the wall and he’s holding his jaw. It was like a car wreck.”
Smith, who isn't traveling with the team to Houston, was the fifth Orioles player who landed in the training room over the past two days in Texas. Catcher Pedro Severino (head contusion), infielder Jonathan Villar (finger) and outfielder DJ Stewart (ankle sprain) all left Wednesday's extra-inning loss with injuries. Stewart went on the injured list Thursday.
Trey Mancini was limited to designated hitter duty after getting hit with a pitch on his right foot Wednesday and dealing with soreness there.
When Smith ran into the wall and was slow to get up, that made for five.
"I don’t know if I’ve seen this many guys go down in two days," Hyde said.
Smith's was a bit of a delayed reaction. He told the trainers and Hyde that he was OK when he got back to the dugout after his catch ended the fourth inning. He grounded into a double play to end the fifth before running out to his position in the bottom half. However, he needed to leaving the game once he got there.
"They checked him on the field. I checked with him in the dugout before he went on deck and he said he’s good to go, and then he started feeling light headed," Hyde said.
Stevie Wilkerson joined the Orioles on Thursday. With Smith likely a longer-term absentee than just a few days, Hyde said the Orioles expected to bring reinforcements to Houston to begin that series. Outfielder Joey Rickard only just went down to Triple-A Norfolk last week and could easily return, while Anthony Santander and Cedric Mullins are also candidates at Triple-A.
Smith's injury was a sobering coda to a week that didn't exactly need one.
"You can go 30 games with nobody really getting hurt too bad and you can have a weekend like this with four or five guys have to come out of a game, and we might have to have a pitcher go out to the field," Mancini said.
While Severino cleared concussion tests and was available in a pinch on Thursday, the fact that it was a head injury made the last injury of this series worse to watch for Smith's teammates.
"It’s scary," Mancini said. "I’ve been on a team with a lot of guys that have run into the wall hard. It’s definitely something you want to be careful with, and that’s why we do all the concussion protocols at the beginning of the year. We take the baseline tests, things like this.
“It’s definitely something that has to be protected against in every sport. I know baseball is probably not the predominant sport you hear about concussions, but it’s still a big issue in sports that you want to get ahead of.”