UPDATE: The MRI results aren’t yet known, but Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that Hammel will miss at least one start. Orioles manager Buck Showalter will have more on his status after the game.
10:06 AM ET: Jason Hammel’s right knee has been an issue for most of the season, but he’s managed to pitch through it and remain effective. However, he could be headed for an extended absence after leaving last night’s start against the Tigers in the fourth inning.
According to Roch Kubakto of MASNSports.com, Hammel is scheduled to undergo an MRI today to get to the root of the problem.
“I was driving toward the plate and it didn’t feel good,” he said. “Something felt really bad. It’s the same area as the injury was before. It’s kind of just day-to-day. We scheduled an MRI for tomorrow and we’ll find out more, but as of right now, we don’t really know what’s going on here.
“It was something that just happened on that pitch. I mean, the normal things I’ve been dealing with since the actual original injury happened, it hasn’t changed. Nothing felt like a pop or anything like that.”
Losing Hammel for any length of time would obviously be a tough blow for the Orioles, who are currently tied with the Indians for the second Wild Card spot but have faded in recent weeks. The 29-year-old right-hander has emerged as the team’s best starter since being acquired from the Rockies in February, posting a 3.54 ERA and 106/39 K/BB ratio over 109 1/3 innings.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.