Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said that last year’s top draft choice, outfielder Heston Kjerstad, suffered a setback in his attempt to play this season.
Elias also discussed a elbow soreness for pitching prospect DL Hall, manager Brandon Hyde’s status, and Chris Davis’ rehab timeline in an interview with the media before Wednesday night’s game with the Indians.
Kjerstad, the second overall choice in the 2020 draft from the University of Arkansas, has been unable to play because of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle.
“Heston Kjerstad, who was returning to baseball activities and strength at our spring training complex in Sarasota unfortunately has experienced some recurrent inflammation with his heart, so that is slowing down our plan for his return to play,” Elias said.
“This is still a situation that we feel will be a matter of time. He’s putting a lot of work in, he’s very determined. This is a bump in the road. It’s a tricky condition. It’s a very serious one that requires us to be careful and deliberate. I do expect this will back up our timeline for getting him back on the field, and it’s something we probably can’t put an artificial timeline on. We’re going to have to provide some further rest before entering a return to play protocol once again.”
Left-handed pitcher DL Hall, the top pick in 2017 who’s at Bowie, has been sidelined by soreness in the back of his left elbow.
“It wasn’t too serious,” Elias said. “We’re being careful with our pitchers. Had an MRI. The MRI was clean from a structural standpoint — no structural injuries or anything serious to worry about.
“But there was some tendinitis, some inflammation, so we’ll pull him out of the rotation, let him rest for a couple of weeks. In several weeks, start to build him back up and return to the Bowie rotation in good time.”
Elias was asked about manager Brandon Hyde, whose team has lost 17 straight road games.
“I will say I hired Brandon,” Elias said. “I handpicked him for this job because of his skills, because of the relationship that we felt, because of his references, because of his broad perspective across baseball operations from the dugout all the way to the Gulf Coast League and everything between.
“He is a partner with us in this multiyear project. We all knew this would be a multiyear project. We knew that there were going to be some rough years. He is not being judged on where we are in the standings in 2021. He’s got a lot of interaction. He and his staff have a lot of interaction with a lot of corners of our baseball operations department as we filled out this entire organization. All of that, I couldn’t be happier with. I’m looking forward to getting back to the playoffs and hopefully all of us are still here together for that.”
Elias also said first baseman Chris Davis, who’s on the 60-day injured list after hip labrum surgery, has moved his rehabilitation from Texas to Baltimore. He won’t play this season, but Elias said that he can begin baseball activities in late August or early September.
“He’s making good progress, and we’ll be working to ramp him up here for the next couple of months,” Elias said.