BALTIMORE — Orioles first baseman Steve Pearce left in the fourth inning of Friday night’s 9-1 win over the Minnesota Twins due to a right abdominal strain.
In the midst of an 11-game hitting streak and having the best season of his eight-year major league career, Pearce told reporters following the game that he began feeling discomfort on Thursday. He made a lunging catch against the ledge of the first-base side stands in the top of the second and made the final assist of the top of the third when he threw to starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez covering first base, but Pearce said neither play caused pain and that swinging the bat is what brought the discomfort.
“I’m just hoping it’s a day or two thing. I’m not feeling any pain or anything, just discomfort,” Pearce said. “I’m not all that concerned. Like I said, it’s not affecting me doing anything else. I’m not in pain doing it even when I swing.”
The 31-year-old is scheduled to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam on Saturday morning.
Pearce was replaced by recently-recalled infielder Jimmy Paredes in the top of the fourth inning after the former had stepped on deck to hit for the injured first baseman in the bottom of the third. Chris Davis moved over to first base with Paredes taking over at third.
“He felt it a little bit a couple of days ago, and he was fine last night,” manager Buck Showalter said. “We went through batting practice just to be on the safe side, and everything was fine. I just didn’t like some of the feedback I was getting from him. I’m not going to take a chance on it.”
Having already lost catcher Matt Wieters and third baseman Manny Machado to season-ending injuries, the Orioles can hardly afford to lose another potent bat as Pearce has hit .289 with a career-high 16 home runs and 37 runs batted in this season. Since the All-Star break, the Baltimore lineup ranked last in batting average (.235) and on-base percentage (.289) despite holding a seven-game lead in the American League East entering Friday’s game.