BRADENTON, Fla. - Outfielder Trayvon Robinson appeared to suffer a back injury today after lining a run-scoring single into center field in the top of the first inning, and Lew Ford pinch-ran for him.
Robinson crouched down in foul territory as head athletic trainer Richie Bancells came out of the dugout. Robinson kept reaching for his lower back with his left hand as he slowly walked to the clubhouse.
Robinson, a non-roster invitee who isn’t expected to make the club out of spring training, is 14-for-43 with four doubles, two home runs and seven RBIs.
Ford later scored on Chris Dickerson’s grand slam to left-center field off Pirates starter Chris Leroux, a late replacement for Jeff Karstens. The Orioles scored eight runs in the inning before the Pirates got the second out.
The Orioles collected five hits while batting around.
Alexi Casilla led off with a single and moved up on a passed ball. Ryan Flaherty walked and the Pirates committed two errors on Nolan Reimold’s ground ball to third.
It’s been that kind of day.
Wilson Betemit followed with a two-run double, Jason Pridie bounced to the mound and Robinson singled.
Travis Ishikawa walked and Taylor Teagarden singled to load the bases.
Then it got weird.
Plate umpire Chad Fairchild ejected catcher Russell Martin for arguing balls and strikes. Martin was screaming at Fairchild as manager Clint Hurdle tried to stand between them.
Once order was restored, Dickerson put the Pirates in a worse mood with his second home run of the spring. He’s 11-for-34 with six RBIs.
Leroux came out of the game, and the Orioles sent 12 batters to the plate before the Pirates could record the final out. Flaherty walked twice.
To recap, the Orioles lost an outfielder and the Pirates lost their starting pitcher and catcher. And we haven’t played the bottom of the first inning.
Update: After sitting for an extended period, left-hander Brian Matusz served up a long two-run homer to Andrew McCutchen in the bottom of the first.
The Pirates collected three hits. Matusz struck out one batter.
Matusz threw 22 pitches, 16 for strikes.
The Orioles weren’t done scoring. Pridie doubled in the top of the second and scored with two outs on Ishikawa’s single.
Orioles 9, Pirates 2.
The Orioles have scored a run in all nine lineup spots - in two innings.
Earlier today, executive vice president Dan Duquette was asked about all the outfielders in camp. Here’s his response:
“They’re all capable and they’ve all done pretty well, so I hope to find a spot for them if they’re not in the big leagues. I hope to find a spot for them with us.
“I think it will work out. These things have a way of taking care of themselves.”
He wasn’t referring to an injury, but it’s ironic that Robinson had to leave the game with a back issue. Or maybe that’s coincidence.
Duquette also talked about Jair Jurrjens, who’s trying to win a spot in the rotation.
“He’s looked good in his delivery. He’s been able to throw the ball down in the strike zone,” Duquette said. “He feels more comfortable in his delivery and he’s thrown much better than he threw last year, for example. And he looks more like the year before.”
Update II: Matusz stranded two runners in the second, but he allowed two runs in the third on back-to-back doubles by McCutchen and Gaby Sanchez, and Neil Walker’s infield hit.
Ishikawa made a diving stop at first base, but Matusz didn’t cover the bag.
Matusz has thrown 51 pitches, 34 for strikes, in three innings. He’s allowed four runs and seven hits, with one walk and one strikeout.
Ishikawa has singled twice and walked.
Update III: The Pirates scored again in the fourth to reduce the Orioles’ lead to 9-5.
Lucas May, Russell Martins’ replacement, had an RBI single.
Matusz has allowed five runs and nine hits, with one walk and two strikeouts. He’s thrown 67 pitches, 46 for strikes.
Before today, Matusz has permitted only one run in his last three outings and 11 innings.
Update IV: Matusz is throwing in the bullpen to increase his pitch count. He threw 67 pitches in four innings, 46 for strikes.
The line that I posted in the third update is official.
Luis Ayala is working the bottom of the fifth inning with the Orioles leading, 9-5.