SARASOTA, Fla. — Right-hander Jair Jurrjens was hoping to show the Orioles once more what he can do on the mound before the club makes its final roster decisions.
A line drive off the bat of Thomas Neal ended Jurrjens' last audition 21 pitches into Wednesday night's Grapefruit League game.
The New York Yankees designated hitter smashed a comebacker right at Jurrjens, who instinctively turned to the side and was struck in the right ribs. He immediately left the game, two batters into the second inning.
He was diagnosed with a right rib bruise and will have a precautionary X-ray on Thursday at 8 a.m.
"Phew, scary. Really scary," Jurrjens said. "I think I tried to come back and tried to catch it. It was just hit so hard. Forget it."
Jurrjens, who was a long shot in the fifth starter competition, will finish the spring with a 4.91 ERA in 14 2/3 innings. On Wednesday, he was charged with two hits, one walk and two runs (one earned) in one inning.
"It makes no sense to talk a lot about the outing, because I didn't have a chance to throw all of my pitches," Jurrjens said. "But I felt good in the innings I was out there."
When asked to evaluate Jurrjens after the game, manager Buck Showalter said "I would have liked to have seen him pitch deeper."
Jurrjens has struggled with injuries in the past few years. He had right knee surgery after the 2010 season and dealt with a groin issue in 2012. Part of his struggles last season may have been connected to a weakness in his surgically repaired knee.
But he said he wasn't thinking "here we go again" when he was struck with the batted ball.
"No, its part of the game. You know the risks we take. Every time you get on the field things can happen," he said. "I'm just happy, thank God, that so far it's not serious. I hope when I get the X-ray tomorrow everything will be fine. I'm just going to play it day-by-day. And see how it goes."
The disappointment, he said, is that his spring games are now over.
"Yeah, that [stinks]," said Jurrjens, who is likely targeted to for the Triple-A Norfolk rotation. "I finally got a start again and I wasn't able to go deep in the game because I got hit, but whatever."
Gausman, two others cut
The Orioles trimmed their big league roster to 34 with four days remaining before 25-man rosters must be submitted Sunday at 3 p.m.
Right-hander Kevin Gausman, the club's top draft pick last year, was sent to minor league camp along with first baseman Travis Ishikawa and catcher Chris Robinson.
Gausman, 22, posted a 3.94 ERA in seven spring games, including two starts. He knew Monday's start against the Minnesota Twins, in which he allowed three runs in 3 2/3 innings, would be his last appearance before being sent out.
He will start the season at Double-A Bowie along with the Orioles' 2011 top pick, Dylan Bundy.
Ishikawa, who signed a minor league deal this winter, batted .265 with three RBIs in 34 spring at-bats. He is expected to get a lot of playing time at first base at Triple-A Norfolk.
Robinson played in 10 games and had four hits in 11 at-bats. He missed three weeks while playing for Canada in the World Baseball Classic. He'll battle for the starting catching job at Norfolk.
Around the horn
Showalter said he has talked to reliever Mark Hendrickson about potential plans for the season. No decision has been made, but Hendrickson, 38, is expected to remain with the Orioles until the end of camp as he works on becoming a side-armer. He likely will begin the season at Triple-A Norfolk or Double-A Bowie, which is closer to his York, Pa., home. … Admission to the Orioles' 2 p.m. game Friday at Ed Smith Stadium against the State College of Florida will be free. However, reserved tickets for seating near the visiting dugout will be sold for $5 with proceeds benefitting SCF Manatees Athletics. Parking in the East Lot will also be free. … Dillon Gee will pitch Saturday for the New York Mets in the Orioles' final preseason game. The Orioles are undecided on their starter for Saturday. They also haven't named a starter for today's Grapefruit League game against Tampa Bay now that Steve Johnson (lat strain) has been scratched. … Wednesday night's attendance at Ed Smith Stadium was 8,660, the seventh sellout for the Orioles this spring.
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