Hamstring strain to cost Uehara start
Right-hander proclaims he'll 'definitely be ready for Opening Day'
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Koji Uehara became the latest Oriole to go down with a nagging injury Monday, when he experienced a slight left hamstring strain.
Uehara said Tuesday that he injured himself during his problematic start one day earlier in Port St. Lucie, Fla., against the Mets, but he declined to say at what point of the game he first felt it.
"I'll most likely skip a start," Uehara said via interpreter Jiwon Bang. "It's not really disappointing."
Uehara got hit around against the Mets on Monday, but he never mentioned the injury when speaking to the media. The Orioles have had injuries to several other contenders for their rotation, including elbow ailments for Brad Hennessey and Rich Hill, a shoulder problem for John Parrish and a lower back injury to Mark Hendrickson.
"I've had a history of hamstring problems," Uehara said. "I'll definitely be ready for Opening Day."
Baltimore manager Dave Trembley recently told reporters to stop asking questions about Parrish and Hennessey, who have fallen so far behind the rest of their peers that they can't possibly be ready for Opening Day. The situation appears to be different for Hill, who has been able to throw long toss but not on a mound.
The Orioles haven't said how long it would take Hill to get game-ready, but a conservative interpretation would have him on the mound by the middle of next week at the very latest. The southpaw will need time to ramp up to 75 or 80 throws if he's going to be in the Opening Day rotation, and he expressed optimism on Tuesday.
"I've made good strides," said Hill, who was acquired from the Cubs for a player to be named. "I need as many outings as I can get. I don't know where that line is. We'll have to wait and see. But I'd like to get out and face hitters as many times as I can, whether it's batting practice or in a game -- just as long as you're competing."
If Hill's sore left elbow enables him to get back on the mound soon, the Orioles will likely accelerate his schedule to throwing every fourth day as opposed to every fifth. That would allow him to ramp up to a higher pitch count in advance of the season, but if that's not possible, he may well begin the year on the disabled list.
The injuries to Hennessey and Parrish -- in addition to the loss of staff ace Jeremy Guthrie to the World Baseball Classic -- have given the Orioles the opportunity to evaluate several other arms. Baltimore has analyzed Danys Baez, Brad Bergesen and David Pauley and will see Adam Eaton later in the week.
Radhames Liz and Matt Albers may also see their chances improve at making the Opening Day rotation, and pitching coach Rick Kranitz said Tuesday that he's thankful for safety in numbers.
"We're going to have to make some tough decisions," Kranitz said. "It's still wide open."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.