O'Hearn and Díaz provide injury updates (plus other Orioles notes)

SARASOTA, Fla. – Two injured candidates for the backup first base job are in better health and nearing returns to the lineup.

Ryan O’Hearn is relieved that the MRI on his right knee didn’t reveal any damage. He’s receiving treatment to remove the inflammation.

“Today it feels really good,” he said this afternoon. “A full day off yesterday, and did some treatment stuff today. Did pool sprints, ran on the treadmill, and I’ve got full range of motion. Now I’m just waiting to get back out there.”

O’Hearn injured the knee during Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays in Bradenton.

“It was on a play in left-center,” he said. “I was running after it and it was kind of a high sky, windy day, tough day out there, and the ball kind of drifted back over my head. When I planted to try and make a move to go jump and catch it, I felt something weird in my knee. Don’t know if I hyperextended it a little or what but felt kind of weird.

“Played the rest of the game, and then I was driving home thinking nothing of it and all of a sudden, I noticed my knee was pulsing and I was like, ‘What the hell?’ I looked down and it freakin’ blew up. It swelled up like crazy and it locked into place, so I literally couldn’t move it an inch four days ago. So that’s why I was kind of panicking, but training staff’s done a great job and MRI was clean, so should be a matter of days before I’m back out there.”

The timing wasn’t ideal.

Opening Day is in two weeks and O’Hearn knows he can’t afford to miss much time. And he’s gone 9-for-19 with a double and home run.

“It’s definitely frustrating, but you’ve got to be smart about it, follow the trainers’ instructions and the doctor’s instructions,” he said. “I think everything will work out the way that it’s supposed to. Hopefully, I get another week at least, or however many games to prove to the coaches and front office and everybody that I can help the team out. So that’s where I’m at.”

Lewin Díaz remains out with a sore left shoulder but will attempt to take batting practice Friday morning while teammates hop on the bus to Fort Myers for an afternoon game against the Twins. He’s 5-for-20 with two doubles and a home run.

“Nothing too serious, just some inflammation in my shoulder,” he said via translator Brandon Quinones. “I was taking some swings when I started to feel it, and after speaking with the trainers, they recommended I take a couple days rest to get better.

“Maybe after tomorrow or the next day, if everything goes well, I should be ready to go to play in some games again.”

Díaz said he hasn’t experienced this type of injury.

“Thank God I’m usually pretty healthy, so when I felt something, I was a little hesitant and scared at first, which is why I spoke to the trainers about it, just to make sure everything is good to go,” he said. “I think having another day of rest today is really beneficial, so I can be ready to go tomorrow.”

A four-man non-roster battle for the backup spot is temporarily down to Franchy Cordero and Josh Lester. Cordero is in left field tonight.

“It’s been a really good competition and I think that whoever ends up with the spot, we’ll all be rooting for each other, we’ll all be happy for each other,” Díaz said. “It’s one of those things that’s beneficial to all of us because we’ve been working really hard. But whoever ends up winning that spot, I’ll be rooting for them and I’ll be really happy for whoever wins it.

“I think I’ve been able to show that I’m capable of being a big league player. I know I have what it takes to be at the big league level and in the past maybe my offense hasn’t been there, but I think that it’s come along and I feel really good with how things have been going. I came in with that mentality and I think I’ve been able to show what I’m able to do.”

DL Hall is throwing a two-inning simulated game this afternoon. Kyle Bradish is pitching on another back field.

Manager Brandon Hyde isn’t ready to name his Opening Day starter.  

"Not quite yet. Pretty soon," he said.

Asked about the calculations for naming an Opening Day starter, Hyde said, "I think it's a little bit different with every team, but you want to give maybe some guys with experience, guys you feel like can handle it well and guys who kind of earned it. It's a big thing for these guys and it's always a pleasure and a fun day to tell a guy he's going to start on Opening Day."

Listed Orioles pitchers tonight behind starter Cole Irvin include Mychal Givens, Keegan Akin, Joey Krehbiel and Nick Vespi.

Dean Kremer returns from the World Baseball Classic and starts Friday afternoon against the Twins in Fort Myers, with Félix Bautista following him. Grayson Rodriguez starts Saturday against the Red Sox in Fort Myers.

Irvin pleased with latest start, Cordero collects ...
Orioles and Blue Jays lineups

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