SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles manager Buck Showalter often says that the final week of spring training can be the most worrisome because of the risk of injuries. The idea is to get out of camp in good health.
Two days ago, infielder Wilson Betemit suffered a Grade 2/3 tear of his right PCL. And tonight, starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens faced only seven batters before being hit by a line drive off the bat of New York Yannkees designated hitter Thomas Neal with no outs in the second inning.
The ball appeared to hit Jurrjens in the lower back as he turned away from it. The Orioles haven’t announced the exact nature of his injury.
Update: Jurrjens sustained a right ribcage contusion and will have X-rays taken Thursday as a precaution.
Jurrjens stumbled to the left side of the mound as shortstop Alexi Casilla retrieved the ball, then fell to the ground. Head athletic trainer Richie Bancells ran onto the field, and Jurrjens eventually rose to one knee and slowly stood up.
Bancells put an arm around Jurrjens as he walked off the field, and Tommy Hunter came into the game.
Both of the inherited runners scored, and Hunter allowed one of his own, as the Yankees took a 3-0 lead.
Jurrjens is charged with two runs (one earned) and two hits, with one walk and no strikeouts. He threw 21 pitches, 12 for strikes.
Jayson Nix led off by reaching on a Casilla error, and the shortstop was charged with a second one after retrieving the ball that nailed Jurrjens and throwing it past first base. Addison Maruszak drove in a run with a ground ball, Bobby Wilson followed with an RBI double to complete Jurrjens’ line and Eduardo Nunez reached on an infield hit that increased the lead to 3-0.
The first two batters reached against Jurrjens in the first inning on a single and five-pitch walk, but he retired the next three on popups.
In his last outing, Jurrjens tossed five scoreless innings against the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte after replacing starter Steve Johnson, who could be headed to the disabled list with a strained lat. He was a long shot to make the opening day rotation, but Showalter hadn’t eliminated him.