Chris Lee’s oblique injury and a 2-1 win (updated)

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Chris Lee most likely injured his right oblique today while facing only one batter. The club will know more about the injury later and how long it could keep him off the mound.

Lee appeared in only eight games with Double-A Bowie in 2016 due to an injury to his left lat muscle. He departed today after replacing starter Hunter Harvey, throwing two pitches and inducing a ground ball from Denard Span leading off the bottom of the third inning.

Showalter said Lee felt a twinge in his side on the previous pitch “and you could tell it was bothering him.”

“Oblique, looks like,” Showalter said. “There’s a pretty good pattern of the days it takes. That’s one injury that pretty much runs its course. It isn’t earlier and it isn’t later.

“That’s what we think it is. He’s got all the symptoms of it.”

Chris-Lee-spring.jpgLee walked off the field holding his right side and kept the same posture while heading to the clubhouse with Triple-A Norfolk head athletic trainer Chris Poole. The injury can keep him out several weeks. First baseman Chris Davis missed a month last season. Closer Zach Britton missed most of spring training.

“I ask a lot of times, why the obliques?” Showalter said. “Most of them happen a certain time of the year. I can see the position players. I think they’re taking more swings, they have more avenues to throw reps than ever before. But pitchers, I think the gun’s got a lot to do with it. I think everybody’s trying to torque every pitch. Everything is max effort in todays’ game and I think that’s why you’re seeing so many obliques. It’s just a lot more stress, it seems like.”

Harvey worked the first two innings in the Orioles’ 2-1 win over the Rays, their first victory in six Grapefruit League games. He allowed one run and three hits, walked one and struck out three.

“Good, real good,” Showalter said. “Fun to watch. Happy for him, excited. It’s more than just the stuff, it’s just the way he carries himself. He’s got a lot of things you look for off-ball, so to speak. Other than just pitching. It’s going to be hopefully a fun year for him. I’m really happy for him. I think we were all excited in the dugout for him. But he wears it well.

“He threw some good changeups, a couple good breaking balls. I like he didn’t implode in the first inning. A big double play on a breaking ball, and he got his work in. It was fun to watch.”

Harvey is expected to make another start.

“We’ll see. See how it shakes out with the B games and some of the games we don’t want pitching in certain games, but I would like for him to get ... See where it takes us.”

The Orioles improved to 1-4-1, with Ruben Tejada’s RBI single with two outs in the seventh scoring Ryan Mountcastle and breaking a tie.

Chance Sisco walked but was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Mountcastle’s double into left-center field. Tejada followed with his single.

Garabez Rosa led off the top of the sixth with a home run to left field off Austin Pruitt to tie the game 1-1. He also doubled in the eighth.

“I feel very happy to help the team,” he said via translator Ramón Alarcón. “That’s the main focus for me, to help in any way I can. And I just tried to make good contact today.”

Rosa, the Eastern League’s Player of the Year in 2017, is a camp invite for the first time after several years of making the ride from Twin Lakes Park.

“It’s the same game, the same baseball,” he said. “I just try to put the bat to the ball, put the ball in play and let things happen.”

Joey Rickard had an infield single and stolen base in the fourth. Rosa’s home run gave the Orioles a grand total of three hits, but they were just warming up.

Erick Salcedo made a diving catch in the seventh after pinch-running for Tejada and playing shortstop.

Paul Fry had 1 2/3 scoreless innings after replacing Lee. Tanner Scott and Rule 5 pick Pedro Araujo each tossed a scoreless inning and David Hess stranded runners on the corners in the eighth to blank the Rays over two frames.

James Teague, a 37th-round pick in 2016, earned the save by retiring the side in order in the ninth with a strikeout, his fastball clocked in the mid-90s. Center fielder Cedric Mullins made a diving catch for the second out.

Teague spent last summer pitching at short-season Single-A Aberdeen and low Single-A Delmarva. Scout Nathan Showalter, Buck’s son, signed him out of the University of Arkansas.

Update: Lee and Austin Hays will have MRIs in the morning.

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