BALTIMORE—The Orioles were hoping to add John Means to their starting rotation in July, but that’s not going to happen. Means, who had Tommy John surgery in April 2022, strained a muscle in his upper back, delaying his return, executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said on Friday.
Reliever Dillon Tate, who hasn’t pitched this season because of a right elbow injury, will remain on the injured list, Elias said.
“It’s a muscle injury. It’s not his shoulder capsule. It’s not a throwing injury,” Elias said of Means’ injury. “He’s just got a strained muscle in the scapula. It’s called the teres major. This is basically just going to add some time to his recovery, to his return back to the Orioles. How long exactly, I don’t know. We’re still very much hoping on getting him back this season.
“It’s obviously going to slow things down and tack on some time before we actually see him out pitching games. He’s doing well. This isn’t the end of the world or anything. It’s just bad timing. It’s just unfortunate, an unfortunate muscle strain that’s going to cause him to kill some time in his rehab while we wait for that to heal.”
Tate’s injury was announced by Elias in February as spring training began. The Orioles had hoped he would return this month. Tate has made 10 rehab appearances in the minor leagues and has a 14.04 ERA.
“He’s doing pretty well in the big picture,” Elias said. “His recovery from the flexor strain that he suffered from last November … But he hasn’t felt totally right … a bit of a stress reaction in part of his elbow separate from his previous injury has flared up a little bit.
“Don’t view this as a particularly long-term addition to his rehab, but it’s a part of his process of getting right. He’s feeling something right now. We’re keeping him on the IL and moving him from his rehab assignment and hopefully very soon we’ll be able to reinitiate his progression.”
Elias didn’t predict when Means would return, other than saying it wouldn’t happen in July.
“He was doing so well that we were getting our hopes up that he was going to come back,” Elias said. “These things happen. I’m glad it wasn’t his elbow or anything throwing-related. We’ve got five pitchers here really pitching well and kind of in a groove.
“We’ve also got a good group in Triple-A and we’d love to see some of these guys up here, too, if the need arises. We’ll be all right, but we’d love to get John back. The important thing is getting him healthy and we’ll take it as it comes. This stuff can change by the day in terms of what we need in the rotation, but certainly he’s a talent that can fit in when he’s ready.”
The trade deadline is August 1st, but Elias didn’t say whether the Orioles would try to augment their rotation then.
“We’re thinking about the trade deadline,” Elias said. “We’re aware of the standings right now. We’re aware of what we view our talent level to be. It’s all positive stuff, but we’re over two months away. It depends so much on the other team’s records and what their strategies are. I can’t tell what it’s going to look like. We’re certainly doing the work in the warehouse to prepare for a number of scenarios … So much can change on our end. I hope it doesn’t change on our end. I don’t think it will … I just trust that our front office is doing what it should be doing to prepare for the trade deadline, and we’re preparing to be buyers.”
Notes: The Orioles activated Ramón Urías from the 10-day injured list; he had a strained left hamstring. They optioned infielder Joey Ortiz to Triple-A Norfolk. … Elias said that Norfolk outfielder Colton Cowser, who’s sidelined by a left quad injury, should be back soon. He said the injury wasn’t major and he would return in days rather than weeks.
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