BALTIMORE -- Steve Pearce left the Orioles' 9-1 win against the Twins on Friday before the start of the fourth inning with a right abdominal strain. He will have an MRI at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and is currently considered day to day.
Pearce first felt pain in his lower right abdomen on Friday and hoped it was just a cramp, something that would vanish in a day. A day later, he started at first base -- his usual spot now that third baseman Manny Machado is out for the season -- played the field for three innings and took one at-bat before leaving for Jimmy Paredes.
"I'm not feeling any pain or anything," Pearce said. "It's just discomfort."
Pearce said he only feels the injury when he swings a bat, so a pair of athletic plays he made in the field didn't affect the injury. During the second inning, Pearce snatched a foul ball out of the air before it landed in the seats along the first-base line and and banged up against the wall. In the third, Pearce ranged far to his right on a ground ball to end the inning.
When his spot was the next one in the order during the bottom of the frame, Paredes stepped into the on-deck circle instead. Nick Markakis struck out to end the third, and when the Orioles went out to play defense in the fourth, Pearce was out of the lineup.
"I'm not that concerned," Pearce said. "I'm not in pain even when I swing, I just feel something there. I just wanted to get ahead of it."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter considered holding Pearce out of the lineup altogether on Friday and let the surprising slugger go through batting practice before making the call to start him. It wasn't until Pearce, who has built up a reputation for his toughness, mentioned something to batting coach Jim Presley that Showalter realized he should play it safe and end Pearce's day early.
"Anytime you hear something like that from Steve, you can usually multiply it times two," Showalter said.
Right now, an abdominal strain is the ideal case for the Orioles. Pearce is optimistic that it can be something that keeps him out for a handful of days rather than land him on the disabled list.
And Showalter is careful to not call it anything potentially more serious -- like an oblique injury -- until Baltimore gets the MRI results on Saturday.
"That's what they reported, right?" Showalter said. "We're trying to stay away from that 'O' word, so we'll see."
Pearce, who is batting .289 with a career-high 16 home runs this season, grounded out to third in his only at-bat of the game to bring an end to his career-long 11-game hitting streak. Since Machado's season ended on Aug. 11, Pearce is 16-for-50 with five home runs.
Chris Davis, who has been starting at third with Machado out, slid back to his usual spot at first base when Pearce left. Paredes moved to third base and went 1-for-2 with a walk in his O's debut.
If Pearce misses any significant time, Davis would likely move back to first base and either Paredes or utility infielder Ryan Flaherty would get the bulk of the playing time at third.
"You never want to see a guy go down because of injury, but you understand it's part of it. It's part of the game," Davis said. "I think it was big getting Jimmy into the game tonight, having a couple at-bats. I've played against him a little bit. I like him as a player. Hopefully we don't have to use him too much, but it's nice to have him in your back pocket."
David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com.