Pearce still bothered by abdominal strain

Pearce still bothered by abdominal strain

BALTIMORE -- Four days after exiting Friday's win over the Twins with an abdominal injury, Steve Pearce still hasn't swung a bat, and his return for the O's three-game series against the Reds at Oriole Park at Camden Yards is unlikely. At this point, Pearce is looking this weekend's upcoming series vs. the Rays for a possible return.

"I think it'd probably be more realistic that I'll be ready for Tampa," Pearce said, "because right now, I'm shut down for everything."

Pearce left before the fourth inning against Minnesota with a right abdominal strain, with an MRI confirming the injury the following morning. He has been shut down from all baseball activities since the injury, relegated to just playing catch in order to keep his arm strong.

Pearce said he only feels pain in his abdomen when he swings a bat, which he hasn't done since sustaining the injury. So he's been totally pain-free for the past few days.

"It's funny, I feel like maybe I should take some swings to see if I still feel it, so I'm really kind of confused on how all this works," Pearce said. "But I'm confident that they know what they're talking about. I'd rather get this thing behind me, instead of have symptoms in a couple weeks."

Manager Buck Showalter said on Monday that he expected Pearce to have a "test run" during this series against Cincinnati, and he still isn't ruling out some playing time for his surprising slugger. Starting, though, is still a little a bit further away.

"There's some things I want him to get through before he does that," Showalter said, "but we could use him if we had to."

Pearce is in the midst of a breakout season, with career highs of 16 home runs and a .289 batting average entering Tuesday. He had become Baltimore's everyday first baseman when Manny Machado's season-ending injury forced Chris Davis to slide over to third. Before that, he received regular playing time in left field and at first base.

In Pearce's absence, Davis has moved back to first and Jimmy Paredes has gotten the majority of the starts across the diamond. The O's took three of four from the Twins without Pearce, and with an 8 1/2-game lead in the American League East, the Orioles can afford to be cautious with Pearce.

"This is the hardest thing ever," Pearce said. "Being here watching the guys, not being able to work out, hit and doing all that stuff is kind of hard for me to sit back -- especially since I don't have any pain and I feel like I can do it. But they just want me to really let this thing calm down."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.