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Wednesday Bird Droppings: The Orioles are dealing with injuries throughout the pitching staff

In today’s batch of O’s news, Hernandez and Harvey are hurt, Martin is back, and the Opening Day roster remains up in the air.

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MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Baltimore Orioles Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning Birdland,

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, but the Orioles have been anything but lucky with the injury bug lately. Hunter Harvey tweaked his oblique a few days ago and now finds himself on the IL through at least mid-May. Then on Tuesday, Felix Hernandez exited his outing after just one inning. It was revealed after the game that he was experiencing right elbow discomfort and his prognosis was unknown.

Harvey’s lengthy time on the shelf is disappointing but almost predictable. Nevertheless, it creates a hole towards the back of the Orioles bullpen. Who fills the high-leverage innings that Harvey was expected to have will likely be a fluid situation.

The Hernandez news has less clear implications. Discomfort in the pitching elbow sounds ominous, but it could also be a day-to-day thing that causes him to miss a start or two but nothing more. For the moment, it opens up a spot in the rotation that could have Matt Harvey or Bruce Zimmermann licking their chops.

Harvey looked the best he has all spring on Monday, when he sat at 94 mph and delivered four solid innings. Zimmermann has been lights out all pre-season, tossing nine total shutout innings. If all things were equal, the southpaw probably gets the nod in the rotation. But we know that’s not always how things work on when constructing a major league roster.

Links & Notes

Martin’s debut delayed, still up for utility role |
Richie Martin has a lot of skills that would make him a perfect utility infielder. But he missed all of last season and the entirety of the spring so far. Not to mention, he has a ton of competition from the likes of Pat Valaika, Ramon Urias, and others. It seems almost impossible for him to start the year in Baltimore, although a summertime promotion is not out of the question.

A take on the Franco signing and some game notes | Steve Melewski
There was talk coming from the Orioles on Tuesday that Maikel Franco and Rio Ruiz could co-exist on the 26-man roster. I understand why they had to say that, but it makes almost no sense. Sure, both guys can also play first base, so a scenario exists in which they could play at the same time. But that is a scenario in which both Trey Mancini and Ryan Mountcastle are hurt, and that’s not something I want to even think about.

What Hernández’s right elbow discomfort could mean for the Orioles’ | The Athletic
Would you rather watch Matt Harvey or Wade LeBlanc every fifth day? Both are bound to implode, but at least Harvey could do some cool stuff before that happens.

How the latest news jumbles the roster analysis | School of Roch
In general, the Orioles roster is set. It’s going to be John Means on the bump at Fenway, and he is going to be backed up a lineup that includes Mancini, Mountcastle, and Anthony Santander among others. But there are still two or three roster spots up for grabs, and injuries can make that total increase.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday! Here’s who else is celebrating today:

  • Chris Davis turns 35 today. The Orioles longtime first baseman has been one of the worst players in baseball over the last four seasons, and is now battling a back injury. But remember when he used to lead the league in home runs?
  • Cesar Valdez is 36 years old. His “dead fish” changeup is younger than that, but both of them should be making plenty appearances out of the Orioles bullpen this summer.
  • Raul Chavez turns 48. The former catcher bounced around five organizations, including a 16-game stint with the 2006 O’s.

Orioles history

1953 - Bill Veeck begins to seek options for selling the St. Louis Browns. His initial asking price is $2.475 million for 80 percent of the team. Baltimore mayor Thomas D’Alesandro attempts to organize a group in the city to meet that ask.