HomeTrending MLB NewsOrioles to activate key starter from injured list this week

Orioles to activate key starter from injured list this week

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Kyle Bradish tossed 77 pitches over five innings of a Triple-A rehab start Friday, his third rehab outing while recovering from a right UCL sprain.  It looks as though the Orioles are satisfied with the progress, as manager Brandon Hyde told BaltimoreBaseball.com’s Rich Dubroff and other reporters that Bradish will probably be activated from the 15-day injured list this week to make his official 2024 debut.

“Our medical team talked to him last night, the pitching guys as well. He feels great,” Hyde said.  “We’re just looking right now when to slot him in, but he’s going to be with us soon….He got to an innings spot and a pitch spot, the amount of pitches he threw where we feel like he’s ready.  Kyle was one of the best pitchers in the league last year, and we’re excited to have him back.”

A little more than two months ago, Bradish’s injury was revealed, which caused immediate speculation that the righty’s season could be in jeopardy if Tommy John surgery or an internal brace procedure were needed to address the UCL damage.  However, Bradish received a PRP injection that seemed to work wonders, as he gradually increased his workload to the point that he could start his rehab assignment earlier than expected.  Though missing a month of the regular season is no small matter, that is a concession Bradish and the Orioles will happily take given the initial threat of a much longer layoff.

After making his MLB debut in 2022, Bradish quietly emerged as Baltimore’s ace in his second big league season.  The right-hander finished fourth in AL Cy Young Award voting after delivering a 2.83 ERA and above-average strikeout (25%) and walk (6.6%) rates across 168 2/3 innings.  He allowed a lot of hard contact, but his 49.2% grounder rate limited the damage, and Bradish benefited from a .270 BABIP.

The addition of Corbin Burnes further bolstered the Orioles’ rotation this winter, pushing Bradish down to the projected No. 2 spot in the pitching staff.  The rotation took some more hits when John Means’ elbow soreness resulted in a season-opening stint on the IL, and Tyler Wells was also sidelined two weeks ago with elbow inflammation.  Hyde told Dubroff and company that Wells hadn’t started throwing, as “we’re just kind of slow playing him” and “making sure there’s no soreness in there.”

Means is much closer to a return, as his final Triple-A rehab outing is set for Sunday.  Assuming all goes well, Bradish and Means could be activated next week, thus bumping Albert Suarez and probably Cole Irvin out of the starting mix.  That said, Hyde said, “Everything’s up on the table right now,” regarding how the O’s might line up their starters, as the team has considered using a six-man rotation.  Such a deployment would help ease Bradish and Means into action, and the Orioles’ upcoming off-days on May 6 and 9 would allow for a potential reset after the club evaluates everyone through at least one start.

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