From back to quad to shin issues, José Iglesias has played through bumps and bruises all season. It remains to be seen if he’ll be able to persevere through this latest injury.
The Orioles' shortstop was removed from Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Rays immediately after being hit in the left wrist by a 92.8 mph Charlie Morton sinker in the second inning.
The club announced that Iglesias departed with a left wrist contusion, and X-rays were negative. But it's possible Iglesias could miss at least a couple games due to the issue.
“You never know when someone gets hit in the wrist/hand area, and you’re hoping for the best,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “He’s obviously going to be really sore tomorrow.”
It was the latest in what’s been a season’s worth of injury problems for Iglesias, who has excelled offensively despite them. The veteran shortstop is hitting .377 with 15 doubles and one homer across 36 games, and he would be in contention for the American League batting title if he had enough plate appearances to qualify.
Iglesias doesn’t, however, because of time missed due to various ailments: He endured lower back stiffness during Summer Camp, began battling left quad soreness during the season’s first week and was plunked on the left shin on Wednesday by Braves lefty Tyler Maztek. Iglesias has played roughly a third of his games at designated hitter this season in order to play through these issues.
Without him, the Orioles were held to one run on six hits by Morton and three Rays relievers in dropping their 10th game in 12 tries. They lost despite a quality start from Jorge López and are now in jeopardy of suffering a rare five-game series sweep with Sunday’s finale still to play. López is 2-1 with a 3.95 ERA in five starts since replacing Wade LeBlanc (season-ending elbow injury) in the Orioles’ rotation, as he auditions for a spot in that unit for 2021.
“Since I got drafted and called up, I’ve wanted to be a starter on the MLB level,” López said. “The biggest thing is being consistent every outing, and that’s what I am starting to show everybody.”
Said Hyde: “He’s definitely put himself in position to be a starting candidate next year.”
Even before Saturday’s plunking, it seemed doubtful that Iglesias would accumulate enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title. He needs 49 plate appearances over the O’s final seven games, an average of seven per game. At the very least, he’s done enough to make it a forgone conclusion that the O’s pick up his $3 million team option for the 2021 season, especially with backup shortstop Richie Martin recovering from right wrist surgery and few big league ready middle infielders high in the organizational pipeline.
“With our inexperience and our lack of Major League at-bats from the majority of our lineup, he’s the one guy you know is going to give four quality at-bats per night," Hyde said. "He’s been doing that all season long, no matter who’s on the mound. He’s been giving us great at-bats all season. To not have him in there, it’s definitely a void right now.”