PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – In the first days of spring training, Buck Showalter remarked about how clean the Orioles’ injury report looked.
It’s not nearly as spotless now.
Showalter had just watched Miguel Gonzalez suffer through the team’s second straight frightful start, but he had other things on his mind.
Brian Matusz, who requested an MRI on his back, may be out for a while. Matusz felt back pain during his outing against Atlanta on Wednesday.
“See how he feels tomorrow and see where we are with it,” Showalter said.
“They’ve talked to me about it, what they think, but let’s kind of get there first. His return is not imminent.”
Showalter wouldn’t say if this would require a stint on the disabled list if it had happened during the season.
“I wouldn’t go that far. It’s something that we’ve got to get our arms around. I don’t think we’re there yet. Next couple days, see how he responds. But he’s not going to be back in there on his normal turn. It’s kind of strange. I’m really anxious to hear the dynamic of how it all came about,” Showalter said.
As Gonzalez finished his ragged outing, Logan Forsythe dropped a ball into short right field. Jimmy Paredes dove for it, and sprained his right wrist. X-Rays are scheduled for Thursday night.
“He's a tough guy. That one concerned me a little bit. I hope we get good news, it bent back pretty good,” Showalter said.
The bad news wasn’t all injury related. For the second straight game, an Orioles starter ended his outing well before he was scheduled to.
A day after Ubaldo Jimenez retired just one of the seven batters to face him and allowed six runs, Gonzalez gave up seven in 1 1/3 innings as the Orioles lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 10-3 before 3,158 at Charlotte Sports Park on Thursday.
Desmond Jennings had a pair of run-scoring doubles and Corey Dickerson hit a mammoth two-run home run that the Rays said stopped rolling 569 feet from home plate.
“They didn’t even let me breathe out there. It was tough. They were swinging at that first pitch. The positive side is that I didn’t walk anyone and physically I feel fine. I’m ready to go. It was just a tough one to think about,” Gonzalez said.
“Obviously, the results weren’t there. The fastball was up. I’m happy with my fastball and split. Other than that, I’m feeling good.”
If Matusz is out for any length of time, it opens a spot in the bullpen. Barring injuries six of the seven bullpen spots are accounted for. Dylan Bundy, who must stay on the roster because he’s out of options, allowed a home run to Brandon Guyer in the fifth inning.
Showalter remarked that Bundy threw faster than at any time since his June 2013 Tommy John surgery.
“I think he's happy he's healthy and not thinking about it every time he cocks his arm. You can tell every time he's thrown, the velocity's gone up a little bit. If he can drive that ball down where he needs to get it, he can be a contributor,” Showalter said.
Paredes is on the fringes and needs a strong spring training to stay on the team. But, he’s out of options, and doesn’t play the field well. The Orioles had him play right field in the Dominican Republic this winter, and hoped they’d see some progress.
“It’s sad to see a guy go down who’s been a good part of our organization and he’s been doing great the last couple of years,” Gonzalez said.
The Orioles have lost twice and tied once and have been outscored 25-11.
Hyun Soo Kim was hitless for the third straight game, and is 0-for-9. Showalter doesn’t expect him to play on Friday.
The Orioles scored three runs, two on Tampa Bay errors.
NOTES: Vance Worley starts in Dunedin against Toronto on Friday. J.A. Happ pitches for the Blue Jays. … Corban Joseph, younger brother of Caleb, struck out in the ninth inning. It was the first time the brothers had appeared in a game together. Corban is an infielder in the Orioles’ minor league system. … Steve Pearce played his first game for the Rays. He was 1-for-3 with an RBI.
[RELATED: Matusz requests MRI on his back]