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Hernandez takes a breather

Hernandez takes a breather

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BALTIMORE -- Luis Hernandez did't start in Thursday's matinee game with Tampa Bay after injuring his ankle on Wednesday night, but Orioles manager Dave Trembley said the shortstop was available to play.

Hernandez rolled his left ankle while sliding into third base in the third inning. The ankle was taped, and he stayed in and finished the game, but Trembley decided to give him some rest in the finale, more because the Orioles are playing in the afternoon than anything else.

"I think if it was a night game, he'd be in there," Trembley said. "[Head athletic trainer] Richie [Bancells] said if I needed him, he could play."

Instead, rookie Eider Torres started at shortstop and batted ninth against the Rays.

Trembley said Hernandez's injury looked bad at first because third-base coach Juan Samuel quickly waved for help, while Hernandez was writhing in pain on the ground. Orioles personnel attended to Hernandez for several minutes as he walked around third base.

The skipper also said he really wasn't worried about this being a long-term problem. The Orioles just sent down backup shortstop/utility infielder Brandon Fahey earlier this week, but Trembley didn't think the team would be in a situation where it had just one shortstop on hand.

"I think he'll be fine," Trembley said. "Richie told me not to be concerned about it. We're just glad he didn't severely hurt himself."

Trembley had said earlier this week that he was hoping to see more of what the team saw last year from Hernandez, who's been inconsistent at times throughout Spring Training and the first month of the season.

The shortstop is batting .250 through his first 24 games, getting pinch-hit for more often than others. But with Fahey back in the Minors, Trembley said he was hoping that Hernandez might relax a bit.

Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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