ST. PETERSBURG — Rays starter Luis Patino left Monday’s game with a left oblique strain after throwing just 13 pitches.
Patino appeared to be in obvious discomfort after his second pitch to the fourth batter of the first inning, squatting on the mound and grabbing his left side before manager Kevin Cash and athletic trainer Aaron Scott came out to the mound.
Depending on the severity of the strain and the time needed to get built back up, Patino could be out around two months.
Patino had been delayed during the spring with shoulder discomfort and only pitched in two spring games, logging 3 2/3 innings, but the Rays said they were confident he was healthy. He hit 95 mph on several fastballs Monday, which is close to his average, so his arm seemed to be okay as he started the game.
Patino retired leadoff man Tony Kemp on a ground ball, allowed a bloop double to Elvis Andrus and got Billy McKinney on a fly out, then was ahead of Sean Murphy 0-2 when he was hurt. Chris Mazza took over, hit Murphy, then allowed a three-run homer to Seth Brown and a solo shot to Chad Pinder.
Cash said before the game they were eager to see what Patino could do.
“We’re still working to build him up. He’s probably a tick behind the other guys that have pitched to date,” Cash said. “We’d like to see Luis get out there, show the velocity, show the breaking ball, somehow be the same pitcher that he was at the end of last year.
“Even though we put him in a bullpen role (then), that’s what he’s capable of doing. Go out there and let it rip for as long as possible, and then we’ll come get the ball from you when you’ve had enough.”
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