SARASOTA, Fla. – Buck Showalter didn’t want to start any pitcher who might see the New York Yankees in the second week of the season . Instead he gave Jair Jurrjens his final start of the spring, and it was a brief one.
Jurrjens was hit in the ribs by a line drive from New York’s Thomas Neal in the second inning and his outing was a short one. Diagnosed with a bruised right rib, Jurrjens will have an X-ray on Thursday morning.
The Orioles lost to the Yankees 11-8 before 8,660 on Wednesday night.
Jurrjens, who began spring training as a long-shot candidate to be the fifth starter, ends it getting ready for a probable minor league assignment. Two years ago, Jurrjens was a National League All-Star. Since then, he’s been plagued with knee and groin injuries.
“I'm happy. Last year, I wasn't even close at this point. Now I feel strong and I'm getting better and better, and that's motivation to keep pushing and keep working and just keep getting better," Jurrjens said.
Showalter said that if Jurrjens came through the X-Ray without damage, he might pitch him again on Friday or Saturday.
“I would have loved to see him pitch deeper,” Showalter said.
Jurrjens threw just 21 pitches and faced only seven batters before the end game.
“Scary. Really scary,” he said.
“I think I tried to come back a little bit and that's why it got me right there. … I think I tried to come back and tried to catch it. It was just hit so hard. Forget it.”
Jurrjens has a 4.91 ERA, with 15 hits in 14 2/3 innings.
“I finally got a start again and I wasn't able to go deep in the game because I got hit, but whatever," he said.
It’s likely the Orioles will send him to Norfolk. They could keep him in extended spring training if his injury is serious.
“I don't think about this, because it's out of my control. If I try to think about it, I'm going to stress myself out about it,” Jurrjens said.
When he was hit, it was probably natural for Jurrjens to think, oh no, not another injury.
“It’s part of the game. You know the risks we take. Every time you get on the field things can happen. I’m just happy, thank God, that so far it’s not serious, “ Jurrjens said.
Nick Markakis had two hits. Nate McLouth had a two-run home run. Taylor Teagarden had a three-run shot.
NOTES: The Orioles host Tampa Bay on Thursday night. While David Price is starting for the Rays, Showalter is importing a host of unknown minor leaguers to pitch for the Orioles. When Showalter found out that Price was pitching, it didn’t cause him to change his thinking and let Wei-Yin Chen, who is pitching to minor leaguers on Thursday afternoon.
“If you're walking around with David Price stuff, it doesn't matter," Showalter said. "You're a really, really good pitcher when everyone knows that you're going to do it and you do it. There's not a whole lot to be learned."
-Chris Dickerson strained his right Achilles tendon in the eighth inning.
-Trayvon Robinson, who left Sunday’s game with a back injury, is still not ready to play.