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Orioles Future Hall of Famer is Day-to-Day at This Point

Baltimore Orioles closer Craig Kimbrel blew his second consecutive save on Sunday before leaving the game alongside the team’s training staff. Kimbrel threw six straight balls to open Sunday’s outing two nights after throwing eight of 24 pitches for strikes. His noticeable struggles prompted the first of two mound visits from Orioles manager Brandon Hyde and athletic trainer Brian Ebel.

“The way he was walking around didn’t look right,” Hyde said of what prompted that talk.

He issued a four-pitch lead-off walk and worked a 3-2 count against Kyle McCann before the rookie’s go-ahead two-run homer. Kimbrel walked off the mound with Ebel while Hyde signalled for Dillon Tate. The right-hander finished the inning for an Orioles team that is now 2-4 in one-run games.

Craig Kimbrel Day-to-Day with Apparent Injury

Hyde told reporters on Monday that Kimbrel is day-to-day with back tightness. He may not appear for a day or two, but for now, it’s not a long-term injury. Yennier Cano will likely get save chances for the Orioles while Kimbrel is away.

Kimbrel blew his second save in as many opportunities after giving up just his second earned run of the season the night prior. Orioles fans learned after Friday’s loss to Oakland that nobody is harder on their new closer than the man himself.

“This game’s really on me,” Kimbrel said in his postgame interview. “Everybody did everything they needed to for us to get a win except for me locking it down.”

Kimbrel Pushing for History in Wake of Injury

This was the veteran closer’s second attempt at recording his eighth save of the season and 425th of his career. Kimbrel surpassed Billy Wagner earlier in the week with his 423rd career save and sits one save behind Kenley Jansen (425) for fifth all-time. Kimbrel’s fastball was in the mid-90s, but something was visibly wrong.

Hyde said afterward that the future Hall of Famer was still in the training room being evaluated. “I don’t know what the timetable is with Craig if any at all,” Hyde said about the nine-time All-Star. “We’ll see. I think we’ve been playing pretty good baseball; we’ve just had a couple of unfortunate kinds of endings in this series.”

Baltimore signed Kimbrel to a one-year, $13 million deal this offseason to fill the void left by injured closer Félix Bautista. Despite arguably exceeding expectations, Kimbrel was less forgiving than his manager or teammates after his outing on Friday. Kimbrel was not available to the media following Sunday’s game.

“There are nights when you don’t have your best stuff and you can work through it. It doesn’t matter if I have my best stuff out there or I don’t have it. I’ve got to figure out a way to make it through.”

Kimbrel (3-1) has seven saves in 13 appearances and was tagged with his first loss of the season on Sunday. The 39-year-old has an inflated 3.18 ERA after giving up three runs to the A’s over 1 ⅓ innings. Going into Friday’s outing, Kimbrel had a 0.81 ERA after throwing 10 shutout innings since blowing his first save on April 1st.

After the game, Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman said, “I think that Craig’s a phenomenal pitcher. Obviously, he’s going to bounce back. We’ve got no worries.”

Main Photo: © Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports


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