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SARASOTA, Florida-Catcher Adley Rutschman’s Orioles debut might have to wait a while. Rutschman, the top prospect in minor league baseball, suffered a strained right triceps muscle during a minor league intrasquad game last Friday at Ed Smith Stadium, and he’ll be shut down for at least two-to-three weeks, manager Brandon Hyde said.
“He woke up Saturday morning, elbow a little bit sore,” Hyde said. “He’s going for treatment, meeting with [head athletic trainer Brian Ebel] every day. We’re hoping it’s soon, but it might be two or three weeks.”
Hyde said that Rutschman had some tests done. “Everything came out well. Now it’s giving it some time to rest. He’s going to have to go through a progression from there. He’s getting treatment every day with Brian.”
Rutschman’s status for the April 8th opener at Tampa Bay is doubtful.
“We’ll see, it’s going to be dependent on when he’s ready to go,” Hyde said. “Treatment for a couple of weeks, then he’s going to have to do a progression from there if all goes well.”
The Orioles signed veteran catcher Robinson Chirinos on Monday, and he’s likely to start on Opening Day. The Orioles also signed Anthony Bemboom and Jacob Nottingham, who both have major league experience, to minor league contracts during the lockout. They also have minor league catchers Brett Cumberland, Maverick Handley and Cody Roberts in camp.
The Orioles are eager to see Rutschman, who was the overall top choice in the 2019 draft.
“I think it’s an extremely small blip [for] a guy that’s going to be a long career,” Hyde said. “I’m looking forward to when he’s healthy, to be out there. I think he makes us better. We’ll see. I just want him to be healthy.”
In that minor league game, Heston Kjerstad, the Orioles’ top draft choice in 2020, strained a hamstring on what turned out to be an inside-the-park home run by Rutschman.
“This is a part of the game. Guys are going to go down throughout the course of this spring, the course of this season,” Hyde said. “It’s always going to give opportunities to other guys.”
Note: Spenser Watkins will start on Friday in the Orioles’ first Grapefruit League game against Toronto in Sarasota. … Right-handers Chris Ellis and Conner Greene have signed a minor league contracts with the Orioles. Ellis, who was outrighted off the major league roster, had a 2.49 ERA in six starts with the Orioles. Greene was 1-3 with a 7.22 ERA in 22 games with the Orioles last season. The Orioles have 65 players in camp.
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