Starting pitcher Félix Hernández left Tuesday’s game with the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte, Florida after one inning because of what the team described as elbow discomfort. Manager Brandon Hyde took Hernández out of the game.
“I thought the velo was same,” Hyde said. “He was getting outs. He had a good slider. I just thought the body language was different this time than the last couple of times. You felt like there was something bothering him, so when we approached him after the inning, he had a little bit of discomfort. I kind of made the decision to take him out of the game at that point … I wanted to play it safe and not push it.”
Hyde said Hernández would be re-evaluated on Wednesday.
Elias on Franco, Harvey: To make room for third baseman Maikel Franco, who was signed Tuesday, on the 40-man roster, the Orioles placed right-handed pitcher Hunter Harvey on the 60-day injured list because of a strained left oblique muscle.
Elias said Harvey had “a pretty large strain in the oblique. It’s an injury through experience that we know takes a lot of time, especially for a pitcher to come back on his throwing program. Given that, given the need not to rush it, and the timeline not to rush it, we put him on the 60,” Elias said.
Elias said he was excited about Franco’s addition.
“Maikel Franco, I think, is someone that is going to help us a lot and fit in very well with the personnel that we have on this roster,” he said. “It gives us not only an upgrade in different spots in the lineup … a right-handed bat that fits in well with some of our other personnel, but it also makes our team deeper and protects us against what will be a long season, the ups and downs that happen over the course of a season. His addition takes a good bit of pressure, so to speak, off a lot of the different hitters around our lineup.”
Elias thinks Franco also could play first and be the designated hitter.
The Orioles and Franco have agreed on a provision that will allow him to be optioned to Triple-A Norfolk’s alternate site in Bowie in the event that he’s not ready to play by the April 1st opener at Boston’s Fenway Park.
Hyde expects Franco to practice with the team on Wednesday.
Elias thinks that Rio Ruiz, who has been the primary third baseman for the past two seasons, and Franco could play on the team together.
“Certainly, it seems possible that both of those guys are on the team at the same time the whole year, if that happens,” Elias said.
Harvey, who was the team’s top draft choice in 2013, has a long history of injury and has never started a season with the Orioles.
“It’s an oblique injury,” Elias said. “They’re very common in spring training. I also think the 2020 to 2021 calendar that we’ve been dealing with is probably leading to more than their fair share. He’ll bounce back. We just want to make sure his arm is ramped up properly and is in shape. I think we’re going to see him in May or early June.”
Roster cuts: The Orioles optioned infielders Rylan Bannon and Tyler Nevin, outfielders Yusniel Diaz and Ryan McKenna, and right-handed pitcher Ashton Goudeau to Triple-A Norfolk. They also reassigned catcher Taylor Davis to the Twin Lakes minor league camp.
The Orioles have 58 players on their camp roster.