ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Orioles have eight players on the disabled list, and Friday night’s lineup against the Rays wasn’t even remotely close to the one Buck Showalter trotted out on Opening Day.
This week, the Orioles might have received their worse injury setback, losing Nick Markakis for at least three to four weeks as he recovers from surgery to remove a broken part of the hamate bone in his right wrist.
And following the Orioles 5-0 loss to Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field, Baltimore fell out of first place in the AL East for the first time since May 5.
The Orioles hope it’s not the last time they see the top of the division. Pessimists say it is. Regardless, the Orioles can't and won’t use the injuries as an excuse.
“[Evan] Longoriaia's down,” O's center fielder Adam Jones said of the Rays being without their best player. “They are playing well. Everybody has injuries, that’s the name of the game. Everybody has injuries. It’s unfortunate 'Kakes is going to miss three to four weeks, but it’s not like baseball is going to stop. We just have to find a way to deal with that, deal with the loss and the guys who have the at-bats find ways to contribute.”
The Orioles spent the spring talking about the improved depth of the organization, and that has been and will be tested over the next few weeks. It other players don’t step up, the Orioles could quickly fall out of the race. If their starting pitching continues to regress, the Birds are in trouble, too.
“Tampa's got challenges physically, everybody does,” Showalter said. [It is] part of it. You've heard me say it 100 times. Your depth is always tested over a season. We've just got to stay within ourselves. There's a fine line between trying to make something happen and pushing the envelope when it's not there."