Baltimore Orioles: Felix Hernandez potentially injured in loss to Tampa (updated)

If it’s not one thing it’s another for the Baltimore Orioles. Felix Hernandez started this afternoon against Tampa in Port Charlotte, but was lifted after just one inning. Hernandez’s line: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

The immediate concern is that Hernandez left the game with an injury, but we just don’t know. It stands to reason that he was meant to pitch more than just one inning in today’s game. A potential injury to King Felix would certainly make for an interesting rest of camp regarding the battle for the starting rotation. But right now we just don’t know what’s happening.

Hernandez leaving the game so early threw the Orioles’ pitching plans for the game into flux. They only brought six pitchers over from Sarasota, and Hernandez not being able to go 3-4 innings framed the day’s rotation strangely.

Eric Hanhold replaced Hernandez, and didn’t have anywhere near the “success” Hernandez did in the first inning. Margot’s RBI-single in the last of the second gave Tampa a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning Brouseau would smack a two-RBI double, and Zunino a three-run homer. After two innings, Tampa held a 6-0 lead.

This is all a function of the Orioles’ pitching situation for this game being thrown into limbo. However it also illustrates why in any game, guys need to be ready to go in at any point of the game. If you’re on the roster, you should assume that you’re going in.

Diaz would add an RBI-single to close out the scoring in that second inning. However the Birds did get a run back in the last of the fifth in an RBI-single by Austin Wynns. Midway during the game it was announced that the game had been shortened to seven innings – potentially because of the Orioles’ pitching situation. So it goes as a shortened seven inning loss for the Birds.

The big concern of course is Hernandez, and what his condition might be. The Orioles have made no announcements as of the writing of this column. Hopefully it’s just one of those abundance of caution type of things. But that will probably be a story as we continue to go through these spring games.

Before the game the Birds placed P Hunter Harvey on the 60-day DL with a strained oblique. It wouldn’t shock me if Chris Davis doesn’t eventually become a candidate for that as well. Harvey can return to the active roster in May.

The Orioles also finalized a contract with free agent third baseman Maikel Franco earlier this morning. The terms of the contract aren’t yet known, but Franco passed his physical with the team. They’ll presumably have to make a corresponding move on the 40-man roster. When Franco will be reporting to camp and start appearing in spring games remains to be seen.

The Orioles will return home to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota tomorrow night to take on the Atlanta Braves on St. Patrick’s Day. John Means gets the call for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Atlanta’s Charlie Morton. Game time is set for just after 6 PM.

Update: Felix Hernandez left today’s game with elbow soreness.

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