BALTIMORE— In the past two days, the Orioles may have suffered disabling injuries to two key players. On Saturday, Zach Britton left the game with a sprained left ankle, and Sunday, J.J. Hardy was forced out when he fouled a ball on his left foot, bruising it.
Britton was optimistic that he would be able to avoid the disabled list, but Hardy who left the ballpark during game, could be a different story.
Both are scheduled for MRIs on Monday.
The injuries worsened a depressing day for the Orioles, who left 12 men on base in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox before 28,803 at Oriole Park.
Ubaldo Jimenez allowed six runs, five of them in the fifth inning as the Orioles fell behind 6-0. Jimenez walked four, hit two batters and threw a wild pitch, but after the game, it was Hardy everyone wanted to talk about.
“It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be hard, because he’s one of those guys that’s going to do everything possible in his hands to get an out. He never gives up. It doesn’t matter where the ball is, he’s going to go after it and try to get you out of the inning. It’s hard, but we have a team. That’s what a team is for. You have to find a way for one for the guys to step up and keep doing what he was doing and hopefully he’s not out for a long time,” Jimenez said.
Hardy was injured during a fourth inning at-bat when he drew a walk. In the top of the fourth, he amazed his teammates by catching a ball that had ricocheted off Manny Machado’s glove at third base and firing it to first to catch Todd Frazier.
“That’s unbelievable. Just to be here to watch that play. I don’t know if there will be a better play made the whole year,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Showalter much preferred talking about the play than the possibility his team would have to do without Hardy, who played the first 22 games at shortstop without an error.
“I’ve got an idea. Right now it’s a contusion. He fouled a ball off his foot and it got real stiff and sore quickly. And so he’s going to get some more detail. I think it’s a scan tomorrow to see the extent of it,” Showalter said.
The Orioles hope to know Monday afternoon what Hardy’s prognosis will be. If Hardy goes to the DL, it’s likely Ryan Flaherty, who was sent to Norfolk last Monday because the team temporarily wanted to keep 13 pitchers, will return.
Currently, the Orioles have Yovani Gallardo and Jimmy Paredes on the disabled list. They don’t want that number to double.
“We knew it wasn't a matter of if, it was when. You hope it's if. Some teams get real lucky in a year. But it's nothing we can't overcome, and nothing guys won't be back from at some point,” Showalter said.
Adam Jones, who missed time last month with a rib cage injury, thinks the Orioles won’t be terribly hurt.
“Everybody’s going through the same thing. It’s unfortunate, but everybody has to go through it and it’s a true test of what a team is all about,” Jones said.
“It’s part of the game. It’s part of the grind. Things happen.”
In the fourth, The White Sox (18-8) took a 1-0 lead on Brett Lawrie’s fourth home run, three of them hit in the past three games.
Jimenez (1-3) pitched out of trouble in the second inning when he loaded the bases on a single and two walks with none out. He struck out Dioner Navarro and got Austin Jackson to hit into a double play.
In the fifth, Chicago took a 6-0 lead on five hits, a walk and two hit batsmen. Jerry Sands’ two-run single was the biggest hit and Jimenez’s final batter.
Chris Sale (6-0) continued his dominance, but for the first time he didn’t make it through seven innings. He didn’t even get through six.
Sale allowed five hits and walked four in 5 1/3, but only one runner scored.
Chris Davis singled to lead off the sixth, and after Pedro Alvarez bounced out, Jake Petricka gave up a single to Nolan Reimold to score Davis.
Alvarez came into the game to play third base when Hardy left after five innings. Machado moved to shortstop.
Monday is a day off, and the New York Yankees arrive Tuesday for a three-game series. The Orioles (14-10) had a good first four weeks of the season.
“It’s been cold a lot of places. We’ve had a lot of fun. I just think when it heats up, we’re going to have a lot more fun,” Jones said.
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