Gallardo exits start with shoulder discomfort

Right-hander is slated to undergo tests on Saturday in Baltimore

Gallardo exits start with shoulder discomfort

KANSAS CITY -- When the Orioles made an early spring move to sign right-hander Yovani Gallardo for their rotation, the hope was that the 10-year veteran would help stabilize the starters and replace lefty Wei-Yin Chin's production.

And while Gallardo showed positive signs in his previous outing in Texas in pitching into the seventh inning, he didn't feel quite right warming up prior to Friday night's 4-2 loss to the Royals. Gallardo lasted just two innings before exiting with shoulder discomfort and will fly to Baltimore to undergo tests on Saturday. It's concerning news for a struggling rotation.

"My shoulder just didn't feel right. To be honest, it was one of those feelings that I've never had my whole career," said Gallardo, who has never been on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. "I've never had any issues with my shoulder and I hadn't been. For some reason, in the bullpen it just didn't feel right. I wasn't able to extend to get that release point. I think that's why the ball was just up and all over the place. Felt like the ball was coming out of my hand and the strength wasn't there."

Gallardo's velocity, which was a concern when the club signed the 30-year-old to a two-year, $22 million deal with an option this spring, has been declining. But that's not always a precursor to injury, particularly as pitchers get older.

"He's a couple ticks below, but a lot of guys as they get on in their career start off that way and pick up as the season goes on," manager Buck Showalter said of Gallardo's fastball. "He touched 90 [mph] two or three times the last time out in Texas, so we were hoping it would be a little bit better this time, but it wasn't.

"I've done all the looks at his average velocity in April and May. Every start I've looked at them. He's down."

Gallardo, tagged for three runs in the first, recorded just six outs in his shortest start since April 27, 2012, at St. Louis. The righty has not had a quality start in four games this season and is 1-1 with a 7.00 ERA.

On Friday, he allowed four runs on five hits total, including Mike Moustakas' two-run homer, and a walk.

"It's one of those things. Just didn't feel right like the previous starts in spring and the season," said Gallardo, whose deal was changed from three to two years with the option after the O's conducted his spring MRI. "I tried to go out there and hopefully it went away, but as the game went on it just kept getting a little bit worse and worse each and every pitch that I made. It's just one of those things, it sucks. Try to go out there, not put the guys in a bad situation. TJ [McFarland] came in and did a great job, picked me up. We'll see, just stay positive and hopefully it's nothing serious."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.