ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. — The unique series of events that has put the Orioles starting rotation in question for the remainder of this weekend’s series at the Tampa Bay Rays is characteristic of a season in which little has gone the club’s way.
That right-hander Alex Cobb was scratched from his start Sunday because of a nagging blister on his pitching hand wasn’t that much of a surprise — he’s been dealing with the injury for most of the season’s second half and pitched well despite it.
But the reason right-hander David Hess will likely miss his next start can be filed among the most bizarre potential scratches of the season.
Hess could miss Saturday’s start after he was hit in the left eye attempting to catch a football in the Tropicana Field outfield before Friday’s series finale. MASN footage revealed that Hess’ eye had swelled quickly and manager Buck Showalter said before Friday’s game that the 25-year-old right-hander was being sent to a local ophthalmologist for evaluation.
According to the Orioles, Hess saw an ophthalmologist and has some inflammation but no abrasion. He was given anti-inflammatory eye drops and should be OK.
“We’ll see if he’s going to be able to pitch tomorrow,” Showalter said. “If not, we’ll have to make an adjustment.”
Orioles players tossing a football pregame is routine, and before Friday’s game there were enough players to make up a pick-up football game. Hess was running a route when the ball hit him in the eye.
If Hess can’t make Saturday’s start, he would likely be replaced by right-hander Yefry Ramírez, who has made his two appearances entering Friday out of the bullpen and hasn’t started since Aug. 19, when he allowed seven runs in three innings at the Cleveland Indians. As a starter, Ramírez is 1-5 with a 7.34 ERA. Showalter could also start right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis, who will be rested after last pitching in relief Monday at the Seattle Mariners.
Showalter said left-hander Josh Rogers will likely replace Cobb on Sunday. For Rogers, whose next start was in question because he’s approached the organization’s innings limit for him, it will likely be his final big league start of the season. He had a light work day before Friday’s game.
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones was out of the starting lineup for the second time in five games.
“You know, Adam will be the first to tell you that — we were talking the other day — that this has been the best he’s felt in a long time,” Showalter said. “I think being careful with him physically [is a part of it]. But I can’t tell you that’s the complete reason. There’s really a lesser one, but we have some people we want to see play.”
After missing three straight starts against left-handed starters, Cedric Mullins was in the lineup Friday against Rays left-hander Blake Snell.
“There’s only one way to find out, especially against one of the best records in baseball,” Showalter said of Mullins, who entered Friday 3-for-17 with nine strikeouts against lefties. “These looks are going away. And I know Adam wants to play and so does Chris [Davis], but we’ll pick our spots.”
Wilkerson about two weeks away
Despite being added to the team’s expanded roster, utility man Steve Wilkerson isn’t likely to be ready to play in games for another two weeks as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury.
Wilkerson said he still hasn’t resumed running, but has starting throwing.
He has been limited to just 34 games this season — and just seven at the major league level — because of an early-season drug suspension as well as oblique and hamstring injuries.
“I think [saying it was] a roller-coaster ride would be an understatement,” Wilkerson said of his season. “This season’s been a dream come true and at the same time the most frustrating season of my career. I’ve never had to deal with missing so many games and dealing with injuries and stuff.”
Wilkerson, 26, said he hopes to still get into game before the regular season ends, and plans to play in the Arizona Fall League for the second straight year.
“I’m excited to go out to Arizona,” Wilkerson said. “I was out there last year and it’s a great league and I want to play. I need to play.”
Trumbo’s surgery successful
Mark Trumbo’s surgery to repair cartilage damage in his right knee went well, Showalter said, and Trumbo should be ready for Opening Day next season.
The procedure was performed in Baltimore by Orioles club physicians Dr. Leigh Ann Curl and Dr. Michael Jacobs.
“It was exactly what they thought,” Showalter said. “No complications, no surprises and it will be close to him being ready for the season. Everything they thought they would find, everything they thought they’d be able to do, they did. I know he was pretty upbeat about it.”