BALTIMORE — On the same night that Manny Machado got off to an encouraging start in a minor league rehab assignment, the Orioles lost another All-Star infielder to injury when Chris Davis left Friday’s game with a strained left oblique.
The first baseman was removed from the game in the top of the fifth inning by manager Buck Showalter before the Orioles announced that he would be evaluated further after the game. Davis appeared to be in discomfort while taking swings in his final at-bat of the evening when he flied out to right field in the bottom of the third inning.
“When I started swinging, [I] felt good in the cage before the game, [but] a couple swings off of [Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura] just didn’t feel good,” said Davis, who acknowledged the oblique had been bothering him for a few days. “At that point, Buck kind of took it out of my hands. Something that we’re going to keep an eye on and hopefully not let it get too bad right now. It’s too early for that.
“We’ll know more about it tomorrow. I’ve never had an oblique strain or whatever you want to call it, but it doesn’t feel so bad right now that I can’t move or anything like that, so I think right now, we’ll just take it one day at a time.”
In Davis’ absence, the Orioles shifted third baseman Ryan Flaherty to first base, second baseman Jonathan Schoop to third, and inserted Steve Lombardozzi in the game at second base. Davis is hitting .250 with two home runs and 13 runs batted in through the first 22 games of the season after slugging a franchise single-season record of 53 homers a year ago.
Machado tripled and doubled twice in his first three trips to the plate Friday as he began a rehab assignment with Single-A Frederick, making Davis’ injury a cruel twist as the Orioles have yet to play with their full starting infield this season. Typically, discomfort from an oblique injury lingers without proper rest, meaning it often results in a trip to the disabled list.
“Until we can judge what stage it is, it’s a little premature because he’s a well-conditioned, strong guy,” Showalter said. “He’s a tough guy. He plays through a lot of things. You take the proper precautions and see where you are in the next couple of days. He’s worth waiting on.”