Grayson Rodriguez leaves start with lat discomfort

While the Orioles are flashing their power tonight with four home runs, top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings at Triple-A Norfolk and walked off the mound with an athletic trainer after a lengthy conversation that included manager Buck Britton and pitching coach Justin Ramsey.

Rodriguez exited the game against Jacksonville with right lat discomfort, according to the Orioles. He’ll undergo further testing.

There’s nothing wrong with his elbow, which is the good news, but it's too early to know whether his next outing is in jeopardy.

John Means has dealt with a similar issue for several years, at times able to pitch through it and others missing weeks.

The latissimus dorsi is a large muscle covering the width of the middle and lower back.  It connects the bone of the upper arm to the spine and the hip.

Rodriguez appears to be nearing a promotion to the Orioles after allowing two hits, walking none, striking out four and throwing 52 of 63 pitches for strikes. But an early exit tonight might slow him down.

Rodriguez was named International League Pitcher of the Week on Monday after tossing seven scoreless innings in another exceptional start, with two hits allowed and 10 strikeouts. He was stretched out to 88 pitches.

The right-hander’s next turn falls on Tuesday, with no game scheduled the previous day.

The Orioles haven’t provided an estimate for Rodriguez’s arrival in the majors. No firm date seems to exist. But they want to get him closer to 100 pitches before considering a promotion.

Rodriguez is banging on the door, with three runs allowed in his last six starts covering 34 2/3 innings. He walked nine batters and struck out 47.

Tonight’s start lowered his ERA to 2.09 on 11 games.

Note: The Orioles received right-hander Yaqui Rivera from the Marlins as the player to be named later in the spring trade of relievers Tanner Scott and Cole Sulser.

Rivera, 18, pitched in the Dominican Summer and Florida Complex leagues last year and posted a 3.69 ERA and 1.333 WHIP in 12 starts. He walked 14 batters and struck out 35 in 28 innings and didn’t surrender a home run.

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