Orioles notes: Outfielder Joey Rickard 'good to go' one day after pitch hit him in head

Oakland, Calif. — A day after Orioles outfielder Joey Rickard was hit by a pitch in the helmet and left the game, he was cleared to play and was back in the lineup, batting ninth and playing right field for the series opener at the Oakland Athletics.

"I'm good to go," Rickard said.


He left in the sixth inning after being hit with the pitch by Los Angeles Angels starter Troy Scribner, and said there was "a loud ringing" in his head that caused head athletic trainer Richie Bancells to pull him out of the game.

"Yesterday was just more of a shock, and just a weird experience and it was more of a precautionary thing that they did that," Rickard said. "After a minute or two, I felt the same. It was just a precautionary type thing. I feel good."


Rickard said he was checked throughout last night and this morning in Oakland, and did some work on the field early Thursday afternoon to "break a sweat and see if anything reacted," but everything went well.

"He was here early and he feels great," manager Buck Showalter said before the game. "We were lucky that was just a glancing blow, but you still want to be cautious with him."

The all-clear means Rickard avoids even the seven-day concussion disabled list for now, and does so at a time when he's been a regular for the first time this season.

Thursday marked Rickard's season-high 12th straight start, and he was hitting .244 with a .652 OPS in that span before he was hit Wednesday. Rickard entered the Athletics series batting .255 with a .660 OPS overall this season while playing above-average defense in the corners for the Orioles.

Seth Smith returns

Outfielder Seth Smith, who sat out Wednesday's game with a hamstring problem, returned to the lineup Thursday in left field.

On Wednesday, Showalter said Smith wasn't a candidate for the disabled list, though his history of hamstring injuries this year raised some red flags.

Smith has been hampered by a hamstring injury twice already this season — once in spring training and once in April.


In March, he missed over two weeks of spring training to ensure the injury wouldn't linger into the regular season, and he was ready for Opening Day. But a few weeks after that, he missed five games with another hamstring problem but wasn't placed on the DL.

Smith entered Thursday batting .341 with a 1.091 OPS and two home runs since the All-Star break, helping him climb to .272/.356/.467 with 11 home runs this season.

Beckham at leadoff

Shortstop Tim Beckham made his leadoff debut for the Orioles in a jumbled lineup without first baseman Chris Davis. Showalter said Beckham was the team's "best option at this point."

"I'm really impressed with Timmy's approach, and listening to him articulate what he's trying to do at the plate is pretty impressive," Showalter said. "If he doesn't get three hits tonight, it doesn't have anything to do with the batting order. It's probably the pitchers."

Beckham had hits in each of his first nine games after the Orioles acquired him on July 31, entering Thursday batting .514 with a 1.442 OPS and three home runs in that span.


Flaherty gets a day

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Infielder Ryan Flaherty (shoulder) didn't play Thursday for Double-A Bowie, where he has been rehabilitating his shoulder injury for the past week, in order to give him a breather.

"We just had him take a day," Showalter said. "He's been throwing, he's been working early, his arm and everything. We need to make a decision whether he's going to be here for Seattle or not. I'm waiting for [executive vice president Dan Duquette], to see what he wants to do."

Flaherty has played 12 rehab games between High-A Frederick and Bowie, hitting .385 in 39 at-bats while playing all four infield positions and left field. On Wednesday, Showalter said Flaherty had one more hurdle to climb defensively.

Around the horn

Third baseman Ryan Mountcastle hit his first Double-A home run in a matinee Thursday for Bowie. He's batting .186/.205/.300 in 18 games for the Baysox after hitting .314 with 51 extra-base hits for High-A Frederick before his promotion. … Right-hander Hunter Harvey had a successful start for Short-A Aberdeen on Wednesday, Showalter said. "Talked to a guy that saw him pitch. Really good," Showalter said. "Umpire squeezed him a bit early. Touched 97 [mph], 94-96. Curveball without any caution, changeup."