CLEARWATER, FLA. — Alex Cobb probably envisioned his first spring outing after last summer’s hip surgery since the moment he woke up from the procedure in an anesthetic haze.
The Orioles right-hander probably didn’t think his return would happen in a different kind of haze, but he left after one scoreless inning Monday feeling “dehydrated and dizzy” because of a lingering illness he described as a head cold in the Orioles’ 8-7 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in a Grapefruit League game at Spectrum Field.
Cobb took positives from getting the competitive juices going again, and felt all of his pitches were moving the way he wanted them to at this stage in the spring. And his hip wasn’t on his mind — he was just trying not to think about his illness.
“You know when you’re sick, you’re kind of just out-of-body, going through the motions type feeling,” Cobb said. “I was kind of feeling like that today.”
Having had symptoms since before the weekend, Cobb said he went back-and-forth on pitching Monday. He ultimately decided that the benefits of seeing hitters react to his pitches and going through that game day routine were worth it.
“There’s thing that game experiences [do], you just can’t emulate anywhere else but on the field,” he said. “It was good. A lot of times, I start off spring training with an inning. I was contemplating whether or not to pitch or not, but I wanted to get some experience just out on the field today to build on that.”
Manager Brandon Hyde said he liked how Cobb’s split-change moved and thought he had good shape on his breaking ball, but “you could tell he wasn’t 100%.”
“He should be OK,” Hyde said.
Right-hander David Hess followed up Cobb with two scoreless innings in his spring debut, and left-hander Keegan Akin allowed a three-run home run in a touchy fourth before a 1-2-3 fifth.
Recent waiver claim Travis Lakins needed minor leaguer Brian Gonzalez to finish the sixth inning for him after allowing three home runs and recording one out, while Cole Sulser pitched a scoreless seventh and Dean Kremer worked a perfect eighth.
Kremer returned for the ninth and allowed a leadoff double that came around to score the winning run two batters later when first baseman Taylor Davis tried to throw behind the runner at third but threw past José Rondón at the base. Hyde was complimentary of Kremer’s stuff and poise after the game.
In the swing
The Orioles’ road crew struggled at the plate Saturday in the spring opener, and it took a while to find a groove Monday.
Cedric Mullins reached on a bunt single in the sixth inning, stole second, took third on a fly ball to the outfield and scored on a single by Anthony Santander. Mullins has stolen a bag in each of the first three games.
Infielders Pat Valaika and Richie Martin hit home runs in the Orioles’ seventh to spark their comeback, and Mason Williams and Malquin Canelo had run-scoring doubles in a four-run eighth to tie the score.
Delayed starts to spring
Hyde provided several injury updates before the game, some of which have cropped up recently.
Right-hander Kohl Stewart was supposed to start one of Tuesday’s split-squad games, but was pushed back because of biceps soreness that Hyde said the team wasn’t overly concerned about. Right-hander Asher Wojciechowski has a blister and the team wants him to pitch in a controlled setting outside of a game, Hyde said.
Outfielder Yusniel Diaz, who was the top prospect acquired for Manny Machado from the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018, hasn’t appeared in a game yet because of left shoulder soreness. Hyde said that they hope he’ll play in games soon.
“He’s anxious to get out there,” Hyde said. “He’s a great kid, man. I get there in the morning early, and he’s already there. I love the makeup. … I’d love to see him, too. I’m looking forward to when he gets healthy to get him out there. I think he’s an exciting player and the spring training he had last year was really fun. For me, that’s the kind of player he is. But he’s there early in the morning, and I think it’s killing him that he can’t play.”
Additionally, right-handers Mychal Givens and Hunter Harvey, who both dealt with illnesses earlier this month, are back with the team and can still be ready for Opening Day.
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