ARLINGTON, Texas—The hurts just kept coming for the Orioles. Beginning Thursday night’s game against the Texas Rangers with just one healthy reserve position player, manager Brandon Hyde was forced to use Keon Broxton after Dwight Smith Jr. left the game in the fifth inning.
Smith caught Rougned Odor’s drive to end the fourth inning, banging into the outfield wall. He was slow getting up, but batted in the top of the fifth, ending the inning by grounding into a double play.
After Smith trotted out to left to begin the bottom of the fifth, he had apparent difficulty and was removed. Stevie Wilkerson who started in center after his sudden recall from Triple-A Norfolk moved to left, and Broxton, the healthy reserve, was forced into action.
On Wednesday, outfielder DJ Stewart suffered a sprained right ankle, which sent him to the 10-day injured list. Infielder Jonathan Villar, who pinch-ran in the ninth inning on Thursday, injured his right thumb, and catcher Pedro Severino left the game with a head contusion and went through concussion protocol after taking a foul tip off the mask.
“I don’t know if I’ve seen this many guys go down in two days,” Hyde said. “It’s just obviously a little bit unlucky right now, and we’re pretty banged up. Definitely didn’t want to see that, and we’re hoping he’s OK.”
Smith is in concussion protocol and will remain in Arlington overnight.
“He kept saying he’s OK and then when he ran I guess is when he started feeling like he wasn’t,” Hyde said. “They checked him on the field. I checked with him in the dugout before he went on deck and he said he’s good to go, and then he started feeling light-headed.”
If Smith is placed on the seven-day concussion list, the Orioles could recall Cedric Mullins, Joey Rickard or Anthony Santander, who are outfielders on the 40-man roster.
“He’s going to be out for a while,” Hyde said. “He’s going through concussion protocol, they’re going to X-ray his shoulder up here that he banged in the wall and he’s holding his jaw. It was like a car wreck.”
The game began with Chris Davis in right field for the first time since Auust. 21, 2016, and Renaldo Nunez at first. With Trey Mancini’s right foot bothering him, Hyde decided to keep Mancini off the field.
Mancini hit his 13th homer with one out in the first as the Orioles lost to the Rangers, 4-3.
But injuries were the story.
“It’s scary,” Mancini said. “I’ve been on a team with a lot of guys that have run into the wall hard. It’s definitely something you want to be careful with, and that’s why we do all the concussion protocols at the beginning of the year.
“We take the baseline tests, things like this. It’s definitely something that has to be protected against in every sport. I know baseball is probably not the predominant sport you hear about concussions, but it’s still a big issue in sports that you want to get ahead of.”
The Orioles lost their 12th straight series. They haven’t won a series since April 22-24 and haven’t won consecutive games since May 4-6. They’re 19-43 with 100 games remaining.
“For what our record is, I’m really proud of how we’re competing,” Hyde said. “We’re playing so many one-run games and we’re playing … that’s a veteran lineup. Three veteran guys in the back of their bullpen, and we’re in every single game. We’re playing short, obviously, and to play competitive … I think our guys come to play and they’re doing everything they can to win the game. A lot of nights we’re just a little short.”
Hess’ night: Orioles starter David Hess allowed four runs, three earned, in six-plus innings. He’s gone 11 straight starts without a win and has an 8.20 ERA in that span.
Hess’ record is 1-8. His only win came on April 1, when he threw 6 1/3 hitless innings in Toronto.
“I think the one thing that really stuck out was fastball command was a lot better tonight,” Hess said. “I think the only thing I really want to focus on going forward is put-away pitches. I got to two strikes a lot, but just couldn’t seem to put guys away. That allowed them to score a couple runs right in big situations, so that’s something to improve on.”
Hess allowed Hunter Pence’s 12th home run. It was the major league-leading 20th homer Hess has given up.
Hess said the Orioles tried not to focus on the injuries.
“I think that’s a dangerous mindset to get into,” Hess said. “I think we’re just trying to lift each other up. We’re close to the halfway point, so guys are always trying to do things. Really, we’re just trying to give guys a breather where we can and pick them up wherever we can. Just really coming together and trying to push each other forward.”
Davis in right: Davis, playing in right field, failed to field Delino DeShields’ single in the fifth, allowing a run to score. He was charged with an error.
“I just think it was unlucky,” Hyde said. “Ball snaked in the wet grass and Chris is pretty good with ground balls, so I think it was just more of a surface issue. He made a really nice play going into right-center.”
Davis also broke an 0-for-18 slump with an RBI double in the sixth. It was his first RBI since May 12.
Sisco behind the plate: Even if Severino, who left Wednesday’s game with a head contusion, was healthy, Chance Sisco was scheduled for his first start of the season.
Sisco went 1-for-2. He doubled and scored in the fifth and threw out one of two baserunners attempting to steal.