PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Two days, and two injury exits for Orioles’ pitchers. This one could be a lot more serious than starter Kevin Gausman’s scare Monday.
On Tuesday, left-handed prospect Chris Lee left the game in the third inning after retiring one Tampa Bay Rays batter. The initial diagnosis is a right oblique strain – which often is an injury that lingers and can sideline a player for several weeks.
“Oblique, looks like. It’s a pretty good pattern of the days it takes (to recover),” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said about why Lee left the game. “That’s one injury that pretty much runs its course. It isn’t earlier and it isn’t later. So, that’s what we think it is. He’s got all the symptoms of it.”
The 25-year-old Lee was not expected to make the big league club, but now it appears that his opportunities to show what he can do this spring may have ended – or will at least be significantly limited.
After inducing a groundout by veteran Denard Span on the second pitch of the third inning, Lee motioned to the dugout, apparently feeling a pain on the pitch prior to the out, Showalter said. Lee was examined on the mound by athletic trainer Chris Poole and then walked to the dugout holding his right side. In between innings, Lee and Poole left the field and walked to the visiting clubhouse.
Lee, who was 5-6 with a 5.11 ERA in 27 games (20 starts) at Triple-a Norfolk, has dealt with muscle strains before. After making a good impression in eight games with Double-A Bowie in 2016, he was shut down with a lat/shoulder strain that cost him the last few months of that season.
He was expected to begin the season at Norfolk again this year.
Lee’s injury comes a day after Gausman, one of the club’s top starters, was cut above the eye in a collision with a Detroit Tigers’ player. Gausman also left the game, but he likely will make his next start scheduled for Saturday.