Whether Cobb can make his opening day start won’t be known until later.
Cobb retired leadoff hitter Max Kepler on a ground ball to first baseman Chris Davis, who flipped the ball to the veteran starter for the out. Cobb showed no signs of discomfort while inducing a soft line drive from Ehire Adrianza to second baseman Jace Peterson and a pop up from Nelson Cruz.
Thirteen pitches, nine for strikes, and Cobb was back in the dugout.
A few minutes later, he was walking to the clubhouse with head athletic trainer Brian Ebel and Jimmy Yacabonis was rushing into the game.
“It just kind of grabbed on him a little bit early and then I think he thought he was OK and he went to cover first, so we’ll see. I have no idea,” Hyde said after an 8-7 loss to the Twins.
Hyde joked about adding one more “uncertainly” to the list. Trying to keep the mood light.
“We hope he’s fine and we got him out of there in time and that he responds well in the next 72 hours,” Hyde said.
Cobb, who’s going to meet with the media later tonight, alerted the Orioles to his situation after returning to the dugout.
“He came in and said he was a little sore,” Hyde said.
Cobb missed out on his opening day start with the Rays in 2015 due to an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. He has been stretched out enough this spring to take the ball Thursday at Yankee Stadium if his health allows it.
“He was built up and this was his final start,” Hyde said. “If he can throw a side in between, that would be great, but as of right now we’ll know more in the next couple of days.”
Is there a Plan B?
“I don’t think so,” Hyde said. “I think we just wait and see. Cash (Andrew Cashner) throws tomorrow. It’s so up in the air right now. I’ll have more info probably tomorrow or the next day.”
Davis and Dwight Smith Jr. hit solo home runs in the third inning, Mychal Givens retired the side in order in the fifth with two strikeouts, Richard Bleier tossed a scoreless sixth, Renato Núñez led off the bottom of the sixth with a home run, Rio Ruiz matched him with a homer in the seventh, Evan Phillips maintained his scoreless streak and Smith came within a triple of the cycle.
It wasn’t all bad for the Orioles.
Bleier has allowed only one earned run (three total) in 5 1/3 innings, with five straight scoreless appearances.
Núñez, trying to avoid the injured list, also struck out and flied out as the designated hitter. He mentioned this morning that he only feels the discomfort in his right biceps when throwing.
Ruiz, trying to win the third base job or perhaps share it with Núñez depending on roster construction, went to the opposite field in the seventh inning off Mike Moran for his third spring homer. The Twins’ lead was down to 8-7.
Smith, trying to win a job as the starting right fielder or a backup, also singled, reached on an error and delivered a two-run double in the sixth.
“He swung the bat good for the last week,” Hyde said. “I just like the way he uses the whole field. Stays on the ball, drives the ball the other way. I like his approach at the plate. He’s come in here and done a great job and using the whole field and playing nice defense. That’s great to see from Dwight.”
Phillips hasn’t surrendered a run in 9 2/3 innings after shutting out the Twins tonight in the seventh and eighth.
“He has pitched outstanding this camp,” Hyde said. “Just like tonight, went after them aggressively with a good fastball, a good slider, some weak contact off him. I’m excited about Evan. I think he’s somebody who’s really going to help us out at some point.”
The game fell apart in the third and fourth innings, when the Twins packed in eight runs against Yacabonis and minor leaguer Tanner Chleborad, who should have his own parking space with all the trips made from Twin Lakes Park.
Both pitchers were charged with four runs. Jason Castro hit a two-run shot off Yacabonis and Kepler launched a three-run shot off Chleborad.
Peterson was hit by pitches in his first two at-bats and struck out in the third.
Hyde said he didn’t have an update on outfielder Austin Hays, who injured his left thumb today in a minor league game and will undergo an MRI.
“I just found out about it before the game,” Hyde said, “so I don’t know anything about it except I hope he’s OK.”
Update: Cobb said no tests are scheduled and he should know more about his opening day availability after a Monday or Tuesday bullpen session, calling it “a good indicator.” He hasn’t discussed it with Hyde or pitching coach Doug Brocail.
Cobb isn’t in pain and he isn’t limping. He said it felt more like “fatigue” in the bullpen, and then covering first base probably aggravated it.
A subdued Cobb met with the media in the workroom to provide his own update.
Asked about his level of concern, Cobb said, “A little bit because I had to come out of the game for it, but that was purely out of caution. Probably could have kept going, but wouldn’t make any sense to. Definitely felt something there that was concerning. If this was a regular season game, I’m trying to push the limits on it a little bit more.
“I’ve never had this, so I don’t know what ... It doesn’t hurt, I’m walking fine and everything like that. I don’t think I can make any type of judgment call or tell you anything more until we see how it feels tomorrow and the next day.”
There’s no good time for an injury and Cobb found little comfort in having it occur in his last outing.
“I’m not going to say I picked my last start before the season to have something pop up,” he said, “but I don’t know. Who knows what this is going to be?”
Cobb said the injury isn’t bad enough to warrant an MRI or CT scan, but he isn’t going to make a prediction on opening day.
“I have no idea,” he said. “I wouldn’t think that would be very fair to even put out what I thought. There’s nothing I can say standing here right now not even three hours removed from the game to tell you how I can predict what five days from now would feel like.”
Missing another opening day start due to injury would be a crushing blow.
“It would obviously be tough,” Cobb said. “You look at it because it’s going to be a cool moment to be able to be a part of it, but you don’t sacrifice the length of what this injury could be because you want to experience that cool moment.
“I hope it doesn’t become an issue and it doesn’t affect that, but at the same time if it becomes an either/or decision that I have to make, I’m going to decide to make sure this doesn’t become a prolonged season-long issue that I have to deal with.”