In their 14th game of the season, the Orioles finally get Alex Cobb into the starting rotation. The biggest free agent pitching acquisition of the non-season came late enough into spring training that there was still a need for Cobb to get himself all the way into game shape as the regular season started. Now he’s ready, and after the Chris Tillman disaster last night, the Orioles need him.
To make room for Cobb on the active roster, the Orioles needed to remove someone for the time being. That’s turned out to be second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who exited Friday night’s loss after feeling what was at the time just called a “twinge” while striking out swinging in the seventh inning. All the post-game words about getting him out as a precaution to keep it from getting worse aren’t keeping him from the disabled list.
The specific injury is to his right oblique, and after getting MRI results about that oblique, the Orioles chose to put Schoop on the DL. How long Schoop is expected to miss is not immediately clear, and the track record of the Orioles first estimates for missed time due to injury is not the greatest anyway, so it could be longer than whatever they say.
What’s certain for now is that there will be at least ten days with an infield alignment different than you probably spent spring training contemplating. Saturday’s lineup has Tim Beckham at second base, with Danny Valencia at third base and utility man Engelb Vielma still on the bench.
Can the O’s ride out a week and a half with an alignment like that? Maybe. If it ends up stretching on to a month, like the oblique injury suffered by Chris Davis last June, they may need to think about other arrangements. Though Schoop has only been batting .230/.266/.344 to start the season, his bat will still be missed in the lineup, especially if his replacement most nights is the light-hitting Vielma.
If you want to look at the silver lining, the Orioles don’t have to deplete the bullpen in order to activate Cobb. I know, it’s not much of a silver lining.