BOSTON - Steve Pearce’s absence from the lineup tonight against left-hander Drew Pomeranz was a clear indication that the discomfort in his right elbow/forearm area wouldn’t allow him to play.
The true severity of it will be revealed after Pearce visits Dr. David Altchek in New York.
Team orthopedist Dr. Michael Jacobs will consult with Altchek and the Orioles will determine the next course of action.
“They’re all going to weigh in on it. He’s got a problem there,” said manager Buck Showalter.
Pearce already has been sidelined with similar discomfort that limited his innings in the outfield.
“It’s the same, but I think this one bit him pretty good,” Showalter said. “He was almost, we had gotten through it as you’ve seen, and we were hoping it would be fine for the rest of the season, but he made that one throw last night that really bit him.
“I actually thought about taking him out right after the throw, but we were close to getting out of the inning and I really didn’t want to do that to him. Of course, the next pitch or two, they hit it down the left-field corner.
“Usually, he was able to hit with it and that’s different today. He’s having some trouble just opening a drawer.”
If Pearce is able to play again, the Orioles may have to keep him at first base or use him as the designated hitter. Not that they have obvious openings in those spots.
“Yeah, if he can’t throw, but we have some places that are kind of tied up in that position, too,” Showalter said. “But we’re hoping we get good news and he does come back.”
The news was positive today regarding reliever Darren O’Day, who threw a simulated game today and is getting closer to a return.
O’Day will throw another simulated game on Friday and come off the disabled list Sunday or Monday.
“He threw the ball well,” Showalter said.
“You know what’s amazing? Not amazing, but you watch it from here, you watch it from the dugout, and then you get behind home plate and you understand why he’s so successful.
“It’s been a long time without him. What’s he got, (27 1/3) innings on the year? It would be nice to get him back.
“He’s going to do it again. Take two days off and do it again. This one will be more where he warms up and comes directly in the game, sim that one inning, and hopefully we’ll have him Sunday or Monday. That’s what the hope is. See how he feels tomorrow from today.”
Asked why O’Day requires another simulated game, Showalter replied, “Just because he hasn’t simulated a game. We want to see how he responds the day after. He’s not out of the woods yet, but he’s very close, we hope. This is as close as we’ve gotten in a while. We’ve gotten a good return on it.
“I know there’s not a whole lot of games left. Just needs to follow a certain protocol physically to make sure there’s nothing ... We plan on Darren being with us for a while and we don’t want to do something that’s going to rush back and create another problem that could be averted.”
Meanwhile, the Orioles will continue to navigate without their bullpen leader.
“We’ve been doing it for quite a while,” Showalter said. “It’s been going on since really June, so they’ve done a great job with it. Other guys have stepped up and hopefully it will bode well for us post-Sunday if we can get Darren back. But I think to me, it sheds light on what a good job the other guys have done because it’s one of the better pitchers in the American League out of the bullpen.
“We haven’t had him. Sometimes people forget. We haven’t.”
The highlight from today was watching teammates congratulate Ubaldo Jimenez after he arrived in the clubhouse. Jimenez left the team following the Tigers series and completed his work to become a U.S. citizen.
“It’s a great experience,” he said. “It’s a process you have to go through that takes a long time, and then when you finally get it, it’s an amazing feeling.”
“I’ve been part of this country since I was 19 years old, and this country has given me the opportunity to be a better person, not only for me, but for my family. I think even back in my country, I’ve been able to help a lot of people for the opportunity this country has given me.
“It’s something you don’t have any doubt in your mind that you want to do this.”
Jimenez said being a father for the first time and becoming a U.S. citizen are a coincidence. He wasn’t influenced by the birth of his daughter last month.
“I didn’t plan on it,” he said. “I’m grateful it went like that. I think anyone would do anything to be a part of this country.”
Chris Davis was one of the first Orioles to spot Jimenez in the clubhouse and reach out to congratulate him. Others followed as Jimenez slowly made his way to his locker.
“It feels great,” Jimenez said. “It seems like they’re aware of everything you have to go through to be able to get this. They know how big of a deal it is for me. They’re happy.”
Jimenez said the process took five years.
“Even when I had a chance to play in the minor leagues, you see the guys that spend a long time in the big leagues, they do that,” he said. “They do that for themselves, for their family, for their country, and in a way they’re telling thanks to this country for everything it’s done for them. And then it’s something you put in your mind.
“Once you get a chance to do it, of course I’m going to do it.”
Showalter took in the moment.
“That’s one of the neater things that’s happened this year, I think,” Showalter said. “That thing doesn’t happen in two months. That’s five years. I know it means a lot to him and affects his family and a lot of different things. He’s worked very hard and very diligently for this to happen. It means a lot to him. Pretty proud of him.
“It’s a long process. I think a lot of people lose sight of that and he was very diligent about it. They don’t care where you are or who you are and whatever, you’ve got to go through that process and he did it. It’s going to affect his wife, his child, his family, a lot of things that help make his life better, we hope. But he’s very proud to be from the Dominican Republic and he’s very ... It’s just something he wanted to do and he got it done.”
Update: J.J. Hardy hit a three-run homer off Drew Pomeranz in the second inning and Nolan Reimold hit a two-run shot to give the Orioles a 5-0 lead.
Reimold hadn’t homered since his walk-off against the Indians on July 24 at Camden Yards.
Update II: Dylan Bundy gave up two runs in the bottom of the second inning on bases-loaded walks to Ryan Hanigan, a .170 hitter, and Dustin Pedroia. Plate umpire Alfonso Marquez was squeezing Bundy during the Hanigan at-bat.
Update III: Xander Bogaerts homered to lead off the bottom of the fifth and reduce the Orioles’ lead to 5-3.