Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis left Friday night's game early due to a strained left oblique, according to MASN's Roch Kubatko. The severity of the injury is not immediately known, though prior cases have required recovery times of up to 8 weeks. Baltimore will place Davis on the 15-day disabled list, according to manager Buck Showalter (via Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun).
Chris Davis left tonight's game with a strained left oblique. He will be further evaluated. #Orioles trail 2-0 in the top of the 6th.— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) April 26, 2014
Davis suffered the injury during a third inning at-bat against Royals' pitcher Yordano Ventura. The first baseman clutched his side following a foul ball, but ended up finishing the at-bat with a lineout to center. He was replaced by Ryan Flaherty at first the following inning.
Oblique strains are nothing new for the Orioles. Last season, starter Wei-Yin Chen dealt with an oblique strain that kept him out for two months.
The Orioles certainly can't afford to lose Davis for an extended period of time, as the team has little in the way of possible replacements. Steve Clevenger could see more playing time, as could Flaherty, however, each represents a drastic downgrade from the 2013 MVP candidate. Fortunately for Baltimore, Manny Machado's impending return could help lessen the blow were Davis to hit the DL. The Orioles are currently second in the AL East with an 11-11 record following Friday's loss to the Royals.
Davis was one of the best players in baseball last season, as he hit an outstanding .286/.370/.634 with a 168 OPS+, .421 wOBA, and 6.7 WAR, while also leading the majors with 53 home runs and 138 RBIs. He finished third in the AL MVP voting behind Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout. So far this season, Davis has been less than spectacular, as his power has yet to shine through. He is currently hitting .250/.372/.382 with a 114 OPS+, .346 wOBA, and just two home runs in 76 plate appearances.