Orioles' Bradish to begin season on injured list with elbow sprain; Means behind other starters; Henderson slowed by oblique strain - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Orioles’ Bradish to begin season on injured list with elbow sprain; Means behind other starters; Henderson slowed by oblique strain

Photo Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

SARASOTA—As the first workout for pitchers and catchers began, Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias pulled a tiny sheet of paper from his pocket and read off several names — pitchers Kyle Bradish and John Means, and infielder Gunnar Henderson — with significant injuries.

Bradish, who finished fourth in the American League Cy Young Award voting last season, suffered a sprain of his right ulnar collateral ligament while throwing last month. Elias said that Bradish will start the season on the injured list.

“He’s behind. We’ve got that treated with a [Platelet Rich Plasma] injection,” Elias said. “The early returns are very encouraging and everything is in a very good spot right now. He’s going to start his throwing progression tomorrow, but that progression is something that’s going to take some time.

“Everything is pointed in the right direction and going well right now at this time, but I’m not at a point where I want to start putting a timeline on when we’re going to see him in major league action. Right now, we’re prepping him for a lot of action in 2024. We’re getting him ready for that as expeditiously and responsibly as possible, but there’s going to be some time involved.”

Elias also said that Means, whose left elbow flared up just ahead of the Division Series, is about a month behind the other starting pitchers because the team wanted him to rest the elbow.

“We put him on ice for a few months,” Elias said. “That carried over into early 2024, in January, and as a result he was not able to do the typical throwing preparation that he does in January, like he would in a normal camp situation, but he’s doing that now.

“You’re going to see him throwing. He’s on the mound right now. He’s doing his progression. We’re still in the phase of getting his health restoration from his end-of-season injury back into the place that we want to prepare him for the entirety of the season … He’s not somebody that we’re expecting to be a significant presence on the field in the Grapefruit League until he’s fully ready for that.”

Elias said that he’s continuing to look for pitching reinforcements.

“I don’t know that I can prognosticate any additions,” Elias said. “There’s obviously still people out there. We’re remaining on the phones. I do want to be clear that we’re expecting both of those guys back, so I don’t want to go crazy ringing the alarm bells there.

“Even if we had all of our guys perfectly healthy right now at this moment, I would not expect them to stay perfectly healthy all season long. You do want to have as much pitching depth as you can. I think we have a really interesting Triple-A group here this year, guys that finished in Triple-A last year. Seth Johnson is back on line and healthy. We’ve got some interesting people in camp, but we’ll keep an eye on what’s out there still.”

If Bradish and Means begin the season on the injured list, Cole Irvin and Tyler Wells could slide into the rotation. Other pitchers with major league starting experience are Jonathan Heasley and Bruce Zimmermann, and non-roster invite Andrew Suarez.

Henderson suffered what Elias termed “a mild oblique aggravation,” about two weeks ago and will miss early Grapefruit League games.

“He’s almost two weeks into it. We’re thinking it’s going to be two or three more weeks before we’re out of it,” Elias said. “Hopefully, he doesn’t miss too much time in this camp. At this point in time, we don’t expect him to. He’s going to be a little bit late … in game action because of that. Don’t expect his Opening Day to be endangered as of this time.”

Catcher/first baseman Samuel Basallo, who’s MLB Pipeline’s 17th-rated prospect, has a stress fracture in his right elbow and will be restricted to hitting in Grapefruit League games.

Elias doesn’t expect him to catch until late April.

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