Orioles will examine Hernández's elbow; Can Franco and Ruiz coexist?; Rule 5 picks making pitch - BaltimoreBaseball.com

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Orioles will examine Hernández’s elbow; Can Franco and Ruiz coexist?; Rule 5 picks making pitch

What’s happening? –Veteran pitcher Félix Hernández will have his right elbow examined on Wednesday after leaving Tuesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte because of what the team described as discomfort.

Hernández pitched just one inning, and was pulled by manager Brandon Hyde.

“Taking a little bit more time between pitches,” Hyde said. “The way he came off the mound after the inning just looked different. You kind of read pitchers. You’ve got a feeling that something’s not right.”

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Veterans Hernández, Matt Harvey and Wade LeBlanc are trying to make te Orioles’ starting rotation. Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias wouldn’t rule out searching for pitching help.

“We’re always looking, and we’ll see what happens,” Elias said.

Elias said pitchers could opt out of other camps or they could be placed on waivers.

“We’re seeing some encouraging stuff here,” Elias said. “We’ve got a good competition going on. We’ve got a long ways to go.”

John Means will start against the Atlanta Braves at 6:05 pm on Wednesday at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida. He’ll be opposed by Charlie Morton.

Third baseman Maikel Franco, who signed with the Orioles on Tuesday, will be on the field on Wednesday, Hyde said.

Hunter Harvey, who has a strained left oblique muscle, was placed on the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster for Franco.

The Orioles’ other third baseman, Rio Ruiz, will stay with the Orioles, Elias said. Franco is a right-handed hitter, and Ruiz bats left-handed.

“He’s played well for us for a couple of years,” Elias said of Ruiz. “He will continue to do that. I think that we’re going to need more options, more right-handed options. We’re going to need more depth.

“We thought this was a good opportunity, seeing a player of his caliber still unsigned,” Elias said of Franco. “It’s definitely more competition for the guys that are already on the roster, but there’s still a lot of opportunity for all of these guys.”

Shortstop Richie Martin could play his first game on Friday after recovering from surgery to remove the hamate bone in his left hand. Outfielder DJ Stewart remains out because of a left hamstring injury.

What happened? After Hernández left the game, Tampa Bay scored seven runs in the second inning, six against Eric Hanhold, in the Orioles’ 7-1 loss. Marcos Díplan allowed the seventh run.

Jorge López pitched three scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk, and striking out five.

“I thought Lopie’s last [two] innings were really good,” Hyde said. “His first inning, he was feeling for it a little bit. He wasn’t as aggressive as he had been his previous couple of outings. Then, he picked it up that second inning. The last [two] innings, he was very aggressive, forcing contact, good tempo on the mound. Good job, escaped trouble one time.

“It’s aggressiveness with Lopie. That’s what we’re going to continue to hound him on — being aggressive in the strike zone because his stuff really plays.”

The Orioles trimmed the camp roster to 58 by optioning infielders Rylan Bannon and Tyler Nevin, outfielders Yusniel Diaz and Ryan McKenna, and right-handed pitcher Ashton Goudeau to Triple-A Norfolk.

“The guys had good camps,” Elias said. “They’re knocking on the door and on our radar screen this year. I think we might see any or all of them debut. All those guys showed well, but we’re at the point in camp where we’re starting to pare down.”

Catcher Taylor Davis was reassigned to minor league camp.

What’s up with? Mac Sceroler and Tyler Wells. Elias said that the Rule 5 draft choices have a chance to make the Orioles’ Opening Day roster.

“They’re still competing,” Elias said. “They’re both interesting. Their stuff has been very good. Obviously, the results have been a little uneven, but that’s to be expected for some of these guys in general and also coming off the layoff they both had.

“We’re using as much time and opportunity to evaluate those guys. The stuff and the velocity have been as good as advertised and what we were hoping to get.”

What’s what? Since Franco might not be ready to start the season, Ruiz could be the Opening Day third baseman for the third straight year. If the Orioles keep 14 pitchers and three bench players, it seems unlikely that Franco and Ruiz could coexist since neither plays shortstop.

Keeping both would probably mean a 13-man staff, and four bench players.

What’s the word? “I think it makes our whole team stronger and our mix stronger, and we’re hopeful he’ll make the most of this opportunity. He wanted to play for the Orioles. He wants to be a part of this group.”-Elias on Franco’s addition

What’s the number? 0. Last November, the Orioles added six players from their organization to the 40-man roster — Bannon, Diaz and pitchers Mike Baumann, Zac Lowther, Isaac Mattson and Alexander Wells. All have been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.

What’s the record?  4-11-1. The Orioles play the Atlanta Braves at 6:05 pm on Wednesday.

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