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Thursday Bird Droppings: Where we’re holding our breath about Grayson

The Orioles’ big win last night was overshadowed by the lat strain suffered by their top pitching prospect.

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Baltimore Orioles Photo Day
Grayson Rodriguez, photographed at a time when his lat was perfectly healthy.
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Last night was one of those “good news, bad news” kind of nights for the Orioles. Or, depending on how things play out, it may have been a “good news, disastrous news” kind of night, or a “good news, moderately bad but not terrible news” night.

The good news, of course, was the Orioles’ 9-2 rout of Robbie Ray and the Mariners in a game that featured four O’s home runs. Check out my game recap for all the highlights, and don’t forget to vote in the Most Birdland Player poll.

That win, though, was overshadowed by the news coming out of Norfolk, where Grayson Rodriguez — the best pitching prospect in all of baseball, and a man seemingly on the cusp of a big league promotion — had to leave the Triple-A Tides’ game with an injury in the sixth inning after throwing a dominant outing up to that point.

Most Orioles’ fans immediate reaction to the news, before learning the nature of the injury, was one of outright panic and despair, as everyone’s mind instantly rushed to the worst-case scenario. (First initial “T,” second initial “J.”) Others held out hope that perhaps Rodriguez had just suffered some cramps on a sweltering night and was removed as a precaution.

When the official injury announcement came, it wasn’t at either of those extremes, but we don’t yet know what to make of it. Rodriguez suffered lat discomfort in his back, according to the Orioles, which may or may not cause him to miss time. So if you’re wondering whether you should be relieved or you should keep panicking...I’m not sure yet?

It’s too bad, because until that point, I was more convinced than ever that Rodriguez was possibly days away from a call-up to the majors. Had he finished last night’s outing unscathed — when he needed just 63 pitches (52 strikes!) to complete nearly six full innings of scoreless ball — he may well have gotten the call to Baltimore for his next turn on Tuesday. A game I have tickets to, by the way. So really, I’m the victim in all of this.

Let’s hope for everyone’s sake that Rodriguez’s injury turns out to be minor, that he misses little or no time, and that he gets back to dominating Triple-A and earns himself a promotion to the Orioles not long after. Any serious injury to Grayson would throw a horrific wrench into his, and the Orioles’, long-term future.

Links

Grayson Rodriguez leaves Triple-A start early with lat injury - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Peter Schmuck steps out of retirement for the moment to write about Rodriguez’s injury and what it could mean for his immediate future.

These Orioles may be creating a ‘different vibe’ even if the losing isn’t stopping soon - The Athletic
No sooner had Dan Connolly written this article about the growing optimism in Baltimore than the Rodriguez injury happened. Why does it always feels like O’s fans can’t have nice things?

Orioles hit four home runs in 9-2 win (updated) - School of Roch
Trey Mancini is understandably frustrated about the left field wall that has already robbed him of three home runs this year. He found a solution by hitting the next one into the bullpen.

How Orioles top pick Colton Cowser is getting back to himself at Aberdeen — and getting some more sleep, too
Last year’s first round draft pick hasn’t put up great numbers at High-A this year, but it turns out he just needs more sleep. Don’t we all?

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Three Orioles from decades past were born on this day: lefty Jack O’Connor (64), utility man Bob Saverine (81), and the late first baseman Roger Freed (b. 1946, d. 1996).

Historically, June 2 has been a lot of fun for the Orioles, who have an all-time record of 38-21 on this date. That includes one stretch (from 1984-98) in which the O’s had a perfect 12-0 record on this date, and another stretch (1964-76) in which they were a perfect 11-0. Good things happen on June 2, I guess...except in 1959 when, according to Baseball Reference, a swarm of gnats delayed the game and had to be chased off by a smoke bomb. The O’s won that game anyway.

Among the notable games on this date:

  • In 1980, the Orioles beat the Brewers, 9-8, when pinch-hitter Lenn Sakata hit his first and only home run of the season, a walkoff in the 11th inning. Number nine hitter Rich Dauer went 5-for-5 with five singles.
  • In 1998, the O’s had an identical 9-8 win, this one against the Mariners, that featured two future members of the 500-homer club each homering in the 10th inning. In the top half, Seattle’s Ken Griffey Jr. swatted a dinger, his second of the game, to give Seattle an 8-7 lead. But the Orioles’ Rafael Palmeiro walked it off with a two-run shot in the home half. Another member of the 500-homer club, Alex Rodriguez, homered earlier in the game, as did Cal Ripken Jr., who finished his career with 431 roundtrippers.
  • And speaking of roundtrippers, there were a ton of them on this date in 2016, when the O’s bashed seven home runs to beat the Red Sox at Camden Yards, 12-7. Mark Trumbo and Adam Jones each homered twice, while Manny Machado, Pedro Alvarez, and backup catcher Francisco Pena left the yard as well.