The Orioles trimmed their spring roster to 39 players Wednesday by reassigning five players to the Minor League in Sarasota and optioning three others to Triple-A Norfolk.
Injured veterans Brad Hennessey and John Parrish headlined the group heading to Sarasota, and they were joined by infielders Justin Turner and Donnie Murphy and outfielder Justin Christian. Kam Mickolio, Chris Waters and Bob McCrory were sent out to Norfolk.
If you already thought the Orioles had a wide open situation regarding their starting rotation, you might want to sit down. Koji Uehara announced Tuesday that he has a slight strain of the left hamstring, an ailment that will likely cause him to miss at least one spring start.
The right-hander expressed optimism that he’ll be able to pitch well before Opening Day, but he also admitted that he’s had a prior history of hamstring problems. And here’s why it’s especially dire for Baltimore: Uehara was one of the only sure things in the rotation.
The Orioles have been trying to settle the final three slots of their rotation, and they’ve been stymied thus far by elbow injuries to Brad Hennessey and Rich Hill and a shoulder ailment for John Parrish. Hennessey and Parrish are far enough behind that they’ve already been declared out of the running, and similar word on Hill could come down any day.
For now, it appears that Brad Bergesen, Radhames Liz, David Pauley and Matt Albers have enhanced shots at breaking camp in the starting rotation. The Orioles will also evaluate Adam Eaton, who signed with the team after being released by the Phillies.
The Orioles got to see Mark Hendrickson and Adam Eaton throw live batting practice Sunday and have begun to pencil them in for exhibition action. The news is a little more dour for Brad Hennessey and John Parrish, who have injury woes that have kept them from the mound.
Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said Sunday that both Hennessey and Parrish are still sidelined by their respective injuries and have fallen too far behind to catch up. Both Hennessey and Parrish had been rotation contenders before their arms betrayed them.
Hennessey, who has been sidelined with a sore pitching elbow, drops from potential rotation favorite to contender to start with Triple-A Norfolk. And Parrish, who’s been dealing with a sore shoulder, may have to begin auditioning for a bullpen role instead of a starting one.
Brad Hennessey inched toward returning to the mound earlier in the week. The right-hander threw a side session Tuesday and will throw another one Thursday, and if he doesn’t feel any pain or discomfort, the Orioles may begin sketching out his return to game action.
Hennessey, who had been considered a favorite for the rotation, was sidelined with a sore right elbow. Hennessey had a cortisone shot in his elbow and appears to be improving rapidly.
“I was worried the other day after throwing, just tentative after having something bother me,” said Hennessey, a former first-round draftee. “You wonder how you’re going to react. It felt good that day and the next day, so I think that’s a positive sign.”
The Orioles rotation worries worsened on Monday, when John Parrish was added to the list of injured arms and Rich Hill went for further testing. Hill, who came down with a case of elbow stiffness on Sunday, was sent for a magnetic resonance imaging test on Monday.
Manager Dave Trembley said that Hill had already been sent for an X-Ray, and that the MRI was just for further precautionary measures. Parrish, meanwhile, has come down with a case of inflammation in his left shoulder and recently needed a cortisone shot.
Baltimore already had Brad Hennessey on the shelf with a sore right elbow, and Trembley said Monday that he doesn’t expect the right-hander to pitch until the end of the week. Still, the Orioles have plenty of innings and plenty of starts to go around.
“We’re going to play an intrasquad tomorrow,” Trembley said. “We still have a surplus of pitching here. We certainly have enough innings to get some guys a little bit more of a look.”
Brad Hennessey, whose sore elbow was originally classified as a day-to-day injury, will be shelved a little longer than expected. The right-hander won’t be able to pitch until the end of next week at the earliest, according to Baltimore manager Dave Trembley.
“Hennessey is probably going to be a ways away,” Trembley said Saturday. “He got a cortisone shot today. He’s in a status where there’s no throwing for three days.”
Both starting pitchers from Baltimore’s spring opener against the Mets — Sean Green for New York and Brad Hennessey for the Orioles — left early with unspecified injuries. Green allowed two hits and a run in the first inning before exiting the game, while Hennessey worked into the second inning and allowed three straight baserunners before he got the hook.
Hennessey, who has been mentioned as a potential back-end rotation candidate, appeared to be running out of gas and control in the second. The right-hander loaded the bases on a four-pitch walk to inspire a visit from pitching coach Rick Kranitz, and moments later head athletic trainer Richie Bancells was summoned out to escort Hennessey to the clubhouse.
Hennessey was later analyzed with right elbow soreness, and the extent of the injury is unknown at this point. The former first-round draftee hasn’t had any X-Rays and doesn’t believe he’ll need a magnetic resonance imaging test at this point.
“In that second inning, my forearm was just starting to get really tight. I couldn’t get on top of the ball,” said Hennessey. “My location was going south in a hurry, and I was just trying to fight through it and finish the inning … but my elbow wouldn’t let me.”