Orioles count on Burnes, rotation depth with Bradish and Means out - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Orioles count on Burnes, rotation depth with Bradish and Means out

Photo Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

See how BaltimoreBaseball.com can grow your business.

SARASOTA—After Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias revealed that Kyle Bradish will start the season on the injured list with a sprained right elbow and that John Means’ sore left elbow would likely join him on the sideline, his acquisition of Corbin Burnes was looking better and better.

The Orioles traded for Burnes on February 1st, and Bradish and Means were expected to slot behind him in the starting rotation. Bradish’s injury was discovered last month, and Means has been resting the elbow that kept him out of the Division Series in October.

Dean Kremer and Grayson Rodriguez are in camp and healthy, but the Orioles will need to find replacements for Bradish and Means until they return.

The likeliest are Tyler Wells and Cole Irvin, who combined to start 32 games for the Orioles last season, and Elias mentioned there was a group of pitchers who threw in Triple-A last season.

Justin Armbruester, Chayce McDermott and Cade Povich are each in camp, and so is Seth Johnson, who had Tommy John surgery after he was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays as part of the Trey Mancini deal to Houston in August 2022.

Johnson pitched in only five games late last season, and one for Double-A Bowie.

Jonathan Heasley, whom the Orioles acquired from Kansas City in December, started 24 games for the Royals in 2021 and 2022. Bruce Zimmermann started 27 games for the Orioles from 2020-2022.

Burnes, who’s expected to be the Opening Day starter, doesn’t feel any added pressure with the absences of Bradish and Means.

“No, not at all,” he said on Thursday. “I’m going to go out and I’m going to do my job. I can only pitch for one person on the team, so I’m going to go out and prepare and do what I do and go out there every five days and give it all I’ve got.

“The guys behind me in the bullpen, behind me in the rotation are going to do the same thing. If everyone is fully focused on doing their job and competing at their role, the best they can, that’s when good things happen.”

Burnes thinks the Orioles’ rotation depth can withstand the Bradish and Means injuries. Elias and manager Brandon Hyde have made alternate plans.

“They’re excited for this group,” Burnes said. “They’ve got seven or eight guys lined up that can be a big league starter and can go out and compete this year. Depth is always good. Bullpen depth is always good, and it seems we have a lot of that here.”

Kremer believes that the Orioles have sufficient pitching deph.

“We’ve got a little more depth this year,” Kremer said. “We’re all excited to get going.”

Rodriguez will be counted on even more with injuries to Bradish and Means.

“There’s a lot of depth to this club, this organization,” he said. “I think it’s something that’s really helped us over the last few years, being able to develop pitchers. Home grown talent in the minor leagues, I think we’re definitely going to have a lot of guys that can fill some roles in the rotation.”

Hyde has a realistic view of his staff and what can go wrong.

“Injuries are a part of this game,” he said. “I feel good about the depth we have and hopefully [Bradish] will be back soon…Kyle had a good year for us last year and hopefully he can join us again soon.

“I feel like we’ve always dealt with injuries and things really well. I think that’s just going to be another one of those. This allows us to give other guys some opportunities and we do feel confident and comfortable with the guys we have in camp that are rotation candidates. We’ll see how it goes this spring.”

With Irvin and Wells likely moving from the bullpen to the rotation, at least initially, it creates openings for relievers.

“Hopefully, there’s a Yennier Cano there in the locker room or Félix Bautista from a couple of years ago,” Hyde said. “We got Danny Coulombe in the last day of spring training, so you never know what’s going to happen over these next six weeks as well as the beginning part of the year, but let’s hope we can find a few more guys like those guys.”

This year, Hyde has a clear number one starter that he hopes will pitch well into October.

“When everyone has that same goal of getting to the end of the year and getting to the World Series and winning the World Series, it makes it a lot easier to have everyone get along in the clubhouse,” Burnes said.

“When you’ve got guys pulling in different directions, not knowing what the direction is with the team, it makes it a little bit tougher. Obviously, having won 101 games last year, and getting to the postseason, everyone’s got that same goal again this year. It’s easy to come in to be a part of that group because ultimately we all want to win. We all want to win the World Series.”

RAVENS NEWS from BaltimoreSports.com

To Top