Cobb's Opening Day start in jeopardy; Orioles play split-squad games; Hays injures thumb -

Spring Training

Cobb’s Opening Day start in jeopardy; Orioles play split-squad games; Hays injures thumb

SARASOTA, Fla.-What’s happening? – Pitcher Alex Cobb left after one inning Saturday because of soreness in his right groin, putting his Opening Day start in jeopardy.

Cobb felt discomfort after covering first on a leadoff grounder by the Twins’ Max Kepler.

“Probably could have kept going, but it wouldn’t make any sense,” Cobb said. “Definitely felt something there that was concerning. If this was a regular-season game, I’m trying to push the limits on it a little bit more.”

Cobb said he’s never had a groin injury before. He did not have an MRI and won’t guess whether he’ll be ready for the March 28 opener against the New York Yankees.

“I have no idea,” Cobb said. “I don’t think that would be very fair to even put out what I thought.”

In March 2015, Cobb was set to start Opening Day for the Tampa Bay Rays but suffered a forearm injury that led to Tommy John surgery.

“You look at it that it’s going to be a cool moment to be part of that,” Cobb said. “I hope it doesn’t become an issue and doesn’t affect that. At the same time, if it becomes an either/or decision that I have to make, I’m going to decide to make sure this doesn’t become a prolonged, season-long issue that I have to deal with.”

Manager Brandon Hyde said he doesn’t have an alternative plan for Opening Day if Cobb is unable to pitch.

“We got him out of there in time and hope that he responds well in the next 72 hours,” Hyde said.


Cobb said he planned to throw a bullpen session on Monday or Tuesday to see how he feels. 

The Orioles play split-squad games today. Andrew Cashner starts against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Sarasota and Paul Fry will open against the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater. Gabriel Ynoa will follow Fry.

“Don’t put too much stock in the opener being tomorrow,” Hyde said, referring to the use of a relief pitcher to start the game. “We have a split-squad tomorrow, and Paul Fry is going to throw a couple of innings to start the game, and then we kind of run some bullpen guys from there. It’s not like we’re experimenting with an opener.”

Pedro Severino, who was acquired by the Orioles from the Washington Nationals on a waiver claim, could report today. His addition gives the Orioles 35 players on the 40-man roster.

The Orioles traded minor league outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, who had been invited to his first major league training camp this year, to the San Francisco Giants for right-handed pitcher Tyler Herb.

Herb, who is 26, has been in the Giants’ organization since 2014. Yastrzemski, the grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, had been in the Orioles’ organization since 2013.

Renato Nunez was the designated hitter. He went 1-for-4 with a home run. Nunez, who’s been limited by a sore right biceps, was hitless in two at-bats on Friday night in Dunedin against Toronto.

“I still feel it when I throw a little bit,” Nunez said about the biceps. “Yesterday, I felt much better. Today, I feel better than yesterday. Hopefully, that’s what I continue doing.”

Nunez injured the biceps on March 16 and isn’t sure whether he’ll be ready to play third base when the season begins.

What’s happened?— Jimmy Yacabonis allowed four runs in 1 2/3 innings after Cobb left, and minor leaguer Tanner Chleborad allowed four runs in the fourth as the Minnesota Twins beat the Orioles, 8-7.

Chris Davis hit his second home run of the spring. Nunez, third baseman Rio Ruiz and outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. also homered. Smith added a two-run double and a single.

Mychal Givens pitched a perfect fifth inning, and Richard Bleier pitched a scoreless sixth. Evan Phillips pitched two scoreless innings.

Outfielder Austin Hays injured his left thumb sliding head first on a steal of second base in a minor league game and will need an MRI. The news was first reported by The Athletic.

What’s up with? Yusniel Diaz. In the final days of spring training, the Orioles bring over many players from minor league camp. For Saturday’s game, they added 12. Diaz played center field and was 0-for-3 with a walk. 

What’s what? Although Hyde didn’t want to talk about using an opener, it’s not daunting to Fry, who had 10 starts as a minor leaguer.

“I’m just trying to go out there to get outs,” Fry said. “Whether it’s the first two innings or the last two innings. Same mindset, same approach. Got to throw strikes and get outs.”

Last September 17, former manager Buck Showalter tried the opener with  Phillips going the first two innings of a 5-0 loss to Toronto. Phillips was followed by Sean Gilmartin, who worked 4 2/3 innings. 

What’s the word? “I’m an opener. I’m not a starter.”-Fry on beginning the game.

What’s the number? 9 2/3. That’s the number of scoreless innings for Evan Phillips this spring.

What’s the record? 12-15-2. The Orioles play split-squad games today. They’ll face the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field in Clearwater at 1:05 p.m. And play a home game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Sarasota at Ed Smith Stadium at the same time.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    March 24, 2019 at 9:14 am

    Sore groin for your opening day starter not withstanding, what scares me is Hays’ injured thumb. Say it ain’t so Joe! I was really looking forward to this kid’s call-up this year. Warming up the MRI machine 4 days before opening day is NOT the way to start a season.

    I’ve got a bad feeling about this one …. visions of Nolan Reimold. Sheeeeshhh,

  2. Tony Paparella

    March 24, 2019 at 9:40 am

    I tell ya sometimes things just are not fair but this kind of news is disheartening,I believe Cobb is an excellent pitcher and Hays is someone we are looking forward to in the near future for sure.Hopefully these are just very minor setbacks.How about Dwight Smith performance yesterday,he was my pick surprise and if he gets a shot I think he will be a good one. I thought Paul Fry looked good last year and he seems to be on course again and could help the team a lot.Relief corp is decent and maybe even better than that but starters have to come through.I see a lot of reason for optimism from my perspective with some guys that had good spring games and the emergence of new people like Ruiz,Smith,Jackson,etc. may surprise.

  3. Orial

    March 24, 2019 at 10:25 am

    I swear to God if these coaches don’t stop these players from sliding head first. Why is it a continuing issue? Never saw it (except Rose) in prior years. Totally disgusted. Now Cobb—no comment.

    • Rich Dubroff

      March 24, 2019 at 1:22 pm

      I agree, Orial. Not a fan of the head first slide.

    • CalsPals

      March 24, 2019 at 1:38 pm

      I’ll comment on Cobb, problem today is athletes making the decisions on when they’ll play, for millions, had two teethed pulled yesterday, didn’t miss work, suck it up buttercup….Jesus ……

    • Borg

      March 25, 2019 at 6:59 am

      Orial-couldn’t agree more. I coached baseball and softball at the high school level for almost ten years and that was one of my absolute rules. We always spent an entire practice early in the season just working on sliding. There are so many ways to get hurt going headfirst that it makes no sense to me why anyone thinks it’s a good idea.

  4. Michael Trent

    March 24, 2019 at 11:24 am

    Sure don’t understand the DFA on Wilkerson. I thought he had the skills for a super utility guy. Guess they are moving on from their not our guys thing

    • Rich Dubroff

      March 24, 2019 at 1:21 pm

      Michael, I think the Orioles are betting that he doesn’t get claimed. They have a number of utility players, and he could well stay in the organization.

  5. Phil770

    March 24, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    Wilkerson’s does not have options left, if he claimed, the O’s could work a trade for more depth. If he is not claimed, he could be signed for depth. This time of the year, it may be the only way to keep him in the organization.

    • Rich Dubroff

      March 24, 2019 at 1:20 pm

      That is incorrect, Phil. Wilkerson has three options left.

  6. Phil770

    March 24, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    My bad, but why not just option him then?

    • Rich Dubroff

      March 24, 2019 at 3:43 pm

      They needed a 40-man roster spot when they acquired Pedro Severino. He had already been optioned.

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