O's Reliever Ray's Stay On Sideline May Be Short One

His Arm Discomfort Is Diagnosed As Tendinitis

July 07, 2009|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

SEATTLE - -The Orioles got relatively good news Monday on the status of reliever Chris Ray, who was diagnosed with right biceps tendinitis and isn't expected to be on the disabled list for much more than 15 days.

"The prognosis was good news in terms of just being tendinitis," said Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, who recalled Triple-A Norfolk reliever Kam Mickolio to fill Ray's spot on the roster. "It's very encouraging that it doesn't appear to be anything serious."

Ray has been getting treatment on his arm, but it became especially uncomfortable Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels when he entered the game in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and no outs and walked both batters he faced.

"After the game [Sunday], he said the more on top of his pitches he got, he felt a pinch," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said.

"When he relayed that to [head athletic trainer] Richie Bancells, Richie Bancells immediately said that's biceps tendinitis. They let [team orthopedist] Dr. John Wilckens] look at him today, and that's what they said."

Ray, 27, who was the Orioles' closer before undergoing Tommy John ligament-reconstruction in August 2007, has struggled all season, compiling a 9.28 ERA in 23 appearances. That led to a demotion to Triple-A for nearly a month before he was recalled June 23.

Since his return, he has allowed six earned runs, 12 hits and two walks in six innings.

"It's been tough not having him out there," Trembley said.

"I'm sure it's really tested his patience and perseverance with all the things that he's had to do in order to get back out on the mound. He went to Triple-A and got some success and had a chance to pitch on a more consistent basis. Then he comes back here and this happens. It's another setback for him, but we need to get him back to 100 percent, get him back to where he was when he was that guy that did save all those games."

Back in the show

As a former Seattle Mariners prospect, Mickolio once expected to be pitching regularly at Safeco Field, so the venue certainly provided an interesting backdrop for his return to the big leagues.

"It feels really good to be up here," Mickolio said as he prepared to put on his uniform in the visiting clubhouse.

The 25-year-old, who was part of the Orioles' five-player return from the Mariners in the Erik Bedard deal, was 2-3 with a 3.21 ERA for the Tides. But he has been dominant lately, having not given up a run in seven straight appearances and allowing just two in 15 innings since June 1.

"The groin injury kind of set me back," he said.

"I guess I was out of my comfort zone with my delivery and my mechanics. I think as time progressed, little tweaks here and there I guess, and everything kind of fell into place. I just started throwing better."

Not finishing them off

When the Orioles had their annual pre-series pitching meeting before Monday's game, the staff's failure to put away hitters recently was a heavy topic of conversation. In the four-game series with the Angels, Orioles pitchers allowed 14 hits when ahead of the count either 0-2 or 1-2. The Orioles have given up more hits in those counts than any other team in the league.

"We need to be a little bit smarter making pitches in those counts, especially with guys on base," Trembley said.

Around the horn

Trembley said it appears likely that the club will skip the next start of either Rich Hill or Jason Berken in this weekend's series against the Toronto Blue Jays. ... Koji Uehara, who is out until at least September with a partially torn flexor tendon in his right elbow, will travel to New York on Tuesday and get a second opinion from Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek.

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