Alex Cobb lasted two pitches into the fifth inning before the Orioles’ starter plunked Washington Nationals infielder Asdrúbal Cabrera as the coda to his night. It was considered a bonus that he got that far at all.
There wasn’t a lot to accomplish for manager Brandon Hyde and the Orioles in their 4-2 exhibition loss to the Nationals at Camden Yards, but getting Cobb deeper into the game than he’s been in any of the scrimmages so far this month was one of them.
“Very encouraging,” Hyde said. “I thought he threw the ball great.”
Cobb said: “All in all, I was happy with the body of work.”
So, too, was getting Anthony Santander into his first game action of the summer — and he responded with two hits. As long as the Orioles’ training room didn’t grow any more crowded than it was in the afternoon, the only thing they could have asked for was a win.
Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg had a lot to say about that. He kept the Orioles in check for most of the day, their only run off him coming on a run-scoring groundout by Rio Ruiz in the fourth inning.
By then, Cobb, who cruised through three shutout innings, had allowed a two-run home run to Howie Kendrick. But for a pitcher who missed nearly all of 2019 and who Hyde said was not as far along in his workload as the rest of the starters, Monday qualified as a good night.
He struck out five in four-plus innings.
“Saw a lot of 93s on the board,” Hyde said. “He had some good secondary stuff with the curveball and the changeup. Really just made one bad pitch to Howie there. I thought he threw the ball very, very well. Got five ups, which is big going into the season to get going five times. That was huge for us. I wasn’t expecting that to be honest with you, but his pitch count was so low after four. I know it didn’t work out, but to get him back out there for his fifth warmup, he should be ready to go.”
Shortstop José Iglesias, who lead the Orioles with three hits, was impressed.
“He reminded me a lot of Tampa Bay Alex Cobb. He was painting. He was throwing his pitches with confidence.”
Right-hander David Hess surrendered two runs in the seventh inning — one charged to him, and the other to left-hander Paul Fry. Left-hander Richard Bleier held the Nationals scoreless in the eighth and ninth innings, with Renato Núñez blooping a single into right field to score the Orioles’ second run in between.
Wilkerson fractures finger; Harvey, Sisco sit again
Orioles utility man Stevie Wilkerson suffered a phalanx fracture on his left ring finger in Sunday night’s 5-1 exhibition win over the Philadelphia Phillies and will miss “significant time,” Hyde said after the game.
“Very disappointing,” Hyde said. “Kind of a freak injury, freak accident where he makes a diving catch and just a finger bent back. He’s very down about it, obviously. It’s a tough blow for him, a tough blow for us. He’s a big part of this team, not only what he brings to the field but the life and the personality that he has in the clubhouse. He’s so close with a lot of these guys. It’s just an unfortunate injury.”
Hyde also said reliever Hunter Harvey has “a little bit of arm fatigue” that’s kept him off the mound in simulated game or exhibition action since July 14.
“It’s day-to-day right now,” Hyde said. “We’ve been hoping we see him one more time, but we’re monitoring closely. The same thing with John [Means]. We’re going to be conservative with those two guys. He’s dealing with a little bit of fatigue and we’re not going to push it.”
Catcher Chance Sisco, who has also not played since last week, was hit by a pitch in a live situation in his right triceps and is still sore.
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“He should be back in two or three days,” Sisco said. “He’s fine swinging the bat. It’s just a little tender when he’s throwing.”