BALTIMORE—Félix Bautista threw a simulated game on Tuesday. The Oriole closer threw 25 pitches and manager Brandon Hyde was cautious in his assessment of Bautista, who went on the 10-day injured list exactly a month ago with an injury to his ulnar collateral ligament.
“I thought he looked fine. It’s all going to be about how he feels tomorrow,” Hyde said. “First time facing hitters, or one hitter. Great to see him out there. Hopefully, he feels good tomorrow. We’ll see how it goes.”
Bautista began playing catch when the Orioles were in Anaheim to play the Los Angeles Angels earlier this month and has thrown bullpen sessions.
The Orioles begin Tuesday’s game against Washington with a magic number of three to clinch the American League East. If they win the East the first Division Series game will be on October 7th.
“We’re running out of time a little bit,” Hyde said. “He’s going to need to get on the mound more often. He’s thrown a couple of bullpens. This was his first time experimenting against a hitter on the mound. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. You make decisions on a daily basis.
“He’s felt OK. There’s an injury in there. It’s about how he can recover.”
Hyde likens Bautista’s rehab “to spring training or off of an injury. Playing catch early, then extend a little bit in his progression. Then he started throwing some splits and some sliders a couple of times ago, and then was the first time he faced a hitter, which is a different mentality. He’s going to have to continue to do that, and we’ll see where he is.”
Hyde didn’t say if the Orioles need to see Bautista pitch in the regular season, which ends Sunday. Triple-A Norfolk is in a best-of-three International League playoff, which begins tonight.
“I have no idea. It’s all about how he throws,” Hyde said. “We’re just going to continue to monitor it. I don’t know if he’s going to be ready or not … I know there’s a lot of anticipation in him. It’s a big deal. We’re running of out time a little bit, and we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
Mountcastle update: First baseman Ryan Mountcastle is eligible to come off the 10-day injured list on Wednesday. Mountcastle has a left shoulder injury.
“He’s taking batting practice today on the field,” Hyde said. ‘He’s going to do some cage work and hit on the field for the first time. We’ll see how that goes, see how he feels. There’s a chance tomorrow. If all goes well, more than likely in a couple of days. Maybe see him on the field a couple of days. Hopefully in the next couple of days.”
Notes: Jackson Holliday has been named Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year. Coby Mayo has been named the Eastern League Most Valuable Player of the Year. Mayo is now at Norfolk.