Davis has MRI on hip (plus other pregame notes, O’s win 4-2)

SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles first baseman Chris Davis underwent an MRI on his left hip this morning, marked absent at the complex as teammates arrived and readied for pregame stretch and drills.

Davis hasn’t played since Sunday because of a strained hip flexor, which occurred after he reached for a throw up the line. He’s been labeled as day-to-day with slight improvements.

chris-davis-jog-white.jpg“He is feeling better today, but we’re doing a precautionary MRI this morning,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “We just want to get it looked at. But he did feel better coming in this morning. It sounded like everything was going well.”

Davis has appeared in five games and gone 1-for-12 with a home run, two walks and seven strikeouts.

Nate Karns will throw only one inning again today in relief, and his chances of being in the opening day rotation are dwindling. He’s accumulated only 2 2/3 innings in two appearances separated by eight days due to some soreness in his right elbow.

“He’s going to be on a pretty strict pitch count,” Hyde said. “Hopefully, we have a clean inning and a healthy inning for him today.”

A number of possibilities exist for Karns, the only major league free agent signed by the Orioles. He could break camp as a reliever, his role to be determined, or be placed on the injured list and stay back in Sarasota.

“I don’t think we’ve ruled out extending him out more,” Hyde said, “but as of today we just want to give him another inning out there and see how he recovers and take the next step with him.”

Asked about the possibility of the injured list for Karns, who missed the 2018 season with an elbow injury, Hyde said, “I think anything’s possible.”

“I’m hoping that he pitches well today, comes off the mound feeling good, goes back out there in a few days and continues to be healthy as we go toward the end of camp. But I think anything’s possible,” Hyde said.

“So much still can happen in the next 2 1/2 weeks, but good health for us is what’s important.”

Karns is headed back to the mound on two days’ rest, with the Orioles learning how quickly he can recover and become a more viable bullpen option.

“You’d love to have durable guys in the ‘pen,” Hyde said. “That’s not always realistic. Sometimes guys might have to start and get more days than others, depending on their health, but with him, just because of the past history, we’re just going to be a little bit more careful with him as we go. Breaking to New York healthy is our main objective.”

Hyde doesn’t know whether Mark Trumbo will make Tuesday’s target date for debuting in Grapefruit League games. Trumbo did some running this morning to test his surgically repaired right knee.

“We’ve talked a lot about Mark,” Hyde said. “I’m not putting any kind of timeline on Mark. I want to do what’s best for Mark. I want Mark to be healthy during the season and not try to force or rush.

“For me, opening day is just a number. It’s a real special day. It’s just one of 162, so I’m not trying to cram in his rehab to try to make it on that day. I want to do what’s best for him. And if that means middle of April or May, whatever it is, I want him to be 100 percent and go forward and not be 80 percent and have it nagging throughout the season.

“I want to do what’s best for him to allow him to not only help us but to put up good numbers for him and him to feel good throughout the whole season.”

Getting Trumbo the necessary amount of spring at-bats is doable by getting creative.

“I could have him take nine at-bats a day if I wanted to or he wanted to,” Hyde said. “I’m not really concerned about it because he’s such a veteran and a pro and he knows himself really well. I’m not really concerned about at-bats at this point because there’s still 2 1/2 weeks to go and we can fast-forward at-bats. It’s mainly about how his knee feels.”

Hyde checked on Austin Hays this morning to make certain that there was no soreness from yesterday’s splashdown on the warning track at LECOM Park that concluded a spectacular sprawling catch in right-center field. The surgically repaired ankle is fine.

“I was a little concerned with that incredible catch he made yesterday, how he was going to respond to that,” Hyde said. “Went a long way for the ball, laid out on a hard track. So one of the first people I got to today was him, to see how he was feeling. The ankle feels great, so that’s a great sign.

“The trainers are doing an amazing job with him. He’s recovering well. You’ll start seeing him back-to-back a little bit more now as we get comfortable with ... His ankle feels great and it’s responding, so it’s great news.”

Jimmy Yacabonis will pitch in relief Saturday, as the Orioles play split-squad games against the Rays in Port Charlotte and the Yankees in Sarasota. Dylan Bundy starts the day game and David Hess gets the nighttime assignment.

Hyde has discovered something about Miguel Castro since watching the right-hander during four scoreless relief appearances, with only two hits allowed, no walks and six strikeouts in four innings.

“I didn’t know he was going to be sitting at 98,” Hyde said. “I think with Miguel it’s about command. Always had a really good arm. It’s about commanding pitches, and he’s done that in every outing so far. He’s attacked hitters and he’s thrown some really good sliders.

“He’s a tough right-on-right candidate. Six-seven or whatever, lanky and three-quarter. Just a tough at-bat against right-handers, and he’s proved that this spring.”

Single-A Frederick manager Ryan Minor and Single-A Delmarva coach Patrick Leyland are in camp today.

“I thought it was important to have some of the minor league guys who were not in big league camp to start with spend a day here, kind of see the environment, listen to our coaches, watch a big league game. Just kind of get the feel for what’s happening,” Hyde said.

“You’re going to see a rotation of guys coming over here, as well as some of our big league coaches are going to be going down there on occasion and talk about their philosophies on things and to watch how minor league camp is run. It’s just tying the organization together and trying to get everybody on the same page and to create the organization that we want to create.”

For the Red Sox
Andrew Benintendi LF
Eduardo Núñez 3B
Brock Holt 2B
Steve Pearce 1B
Christian Vázquez C
Sandy Leon DH
Gorkys Hernández CF
Tzu-Wei Lin SS
Tate Matheny RF

Darwinzon Hernandez LHP

Update: Andrew Cashner retired the first five batters before back-to-back walks and Tzu-Wei Lin’s RBI ground-rule double ended his day.

Update II: Renato Núñez homered in the fourth to tie the game 1-1.

Update III: The Orioles took a 3-1 lead in the sixth on Hanser Alberto’s run-scoring double and Chance Sisco’s single.

Update IV: Anthony Santander doubled to score Drew Jackson in the seventh and increase the lead to 4-1.

Final update: Sean Gilmartin got the first two Red Sox batters in the ninth, but then walked Austin Rei, who promptly stole second. Sam Travis drove Rei in, scorching a ball past third baseman Ryan Mountcastle, who was charged with an error. C.J Chatham grounded out to end it. Orioles win 4-2.

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