Hill to Start Season on DL; O’s Lose to Cardinals

If things with the Baltimore Orioles pitching rotation were not shaky, they are now even more so. The news out of camp today concerning Rich Hill may be precautionary, but it’s a step back for the hurler, and the coaching staff…

Rich Hill, who was acquired this offseason with the hope that he would be the Orioles’ third starter, was officially ruled out for the Opening Day rotation today by pitching coach Rick Kranitz.

Hill has been dealing with elbow soreness and hasn’t pitched in a game all spring. He did throw a 25-pitch batting practice session today, facing hitters for the first time since late February, and is expected to throw an inning in Wednesday’s intrasquad game. Though the batting practice session went well and Hill reported no discomfort, Kranitz said there’s simply not enough time for the left-hander to get ready for the season with Opening Day now only two weeks away.

“We’re too far away,” said Kranitz. “I don’t think he’s got a chance of breaking with the club at this point. That’s not my say, but if you’re not going to make the club because you’re not ready, obviously there’s only a couple of options. One of them is the disabled list, so I’d think that’s kind of where he may go. He won’t be ready for the season.”

Great. I can imagine he may not be *hurt*, but he might be sent to the minor league camp or might have to work even longer to make the team. At this point, there’s no need to rush him and hopefully he’ll get enough work in between now and when he appears in Baltimore to be effective in 2009.

Speaking of pitching, the Orioles played against the Cardinals in Jupiter, and lost a close one, 5-4. Mark Hendrickson — another candidate for the rotation — was subpar as he gave up two runs in four innings of work on six hits, but Jamie Walker is trying his best to exorcise the demons of 2008 as he pitched 1 1/3 innings of shutout ball in relief. Baltimore held a 4-3 lead over St. Louis until the eighth inning as Bob McCrory came in and blew the save; thereafter, Kam Mickolio took the loss in the ninth.

Ty Wigginton had three hits and runs batted in, as well, both Luke Scott and Adam Jones had two hits apiece.