Elias on Burnes, Bautista, Basallo, sale of Orioles - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Elias on Burnes, Bautista, Basallo, sale of Orioles

Photo Credit: Mitch Stringer USA TODAY Sports

SARASOTA, Florida.-What’s happening?-The Orioles’ second day of workouts should be less newsworthy than the first day. On Thursday, executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias revealed that starting pitcher Kyle Bradish had a sprain of his right ulnar collateral ligament and won’t begin the season with the team.

He also revealed that another starter, John Means, will likely join Bradish on the injured list. The Orioles have rested Means’ sore left elbow, and he’s considered about a month behind the other starting pitchers.

Elias also said that infielder Gunnar Henderson is likely to miss two to three weeks because of an oblique strain. Elias doesn’t expect him to miss Opening Day.

Elias’ acquisition of former Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes looks more timely, though he said the Orioles had been pursuing him throughout the offseason.

“Anything you can say, he does it for us,” Elias said. “He has postseason experience. He throws innings. He’s a number one starter. He changes the whole complexion of our team.”

Closer Félix Bautista, who had Tommy John surgery in October, had another procedure last week to clean out scar tissue. Elias said his surgeon, Dr. Keith Meister, and the Orioles’ medical staff weren’t pleased with his range of motion four months post-surgery.

“We suspected there was some nerve irritation causing that,” Elias said. “He’s already responded very well to the surgery. He’s back on track. I do  not see his timeline as having been altered. I think it went the way that we were hoping, but it’s going to be 2025 spring training. He’s not on the radar screen for 2024.”

What’s happened?—Besides the injuries to Bradish, Means and Henderson, Elias mentioned that 19-year-old catcher/first baseman Samuel Basallo, MLB Pipeline’s 17th-ranked player, has a stress fracture in his right elbow and that he won’t be catching during spring training. If he plays, he’ll be a designated hitter, and he won’t catch until late April.

“It’s typically a bump in the road. They heal,” Elias said. “That’s looking like a matter of time.”

Ronald Guzmán, a former first baseman with Texas and the New York Yankees, who was signed to a minor league contract as a left-handed pitcher, hasn’t reported to camp because of visa issues.

Right-hander Nathan Webb, who was signed to a two-year minor league contract, won’t pitch until the summer as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

What’s up with?— Andrew Suárez. The Orioles signed the 31-year-old left-hander to a minor league contract on January 30th. Suárez started 29 games for the San Francisco Giants in 2018, going 7-13 with a 4.49 earned-run average. He pitched 13 games for St. Louis in 2023 with a 7.16 ERA.

With the injuries to Bradish and Means, Suárez could get a chance for some starter’s innings.

“It doesn’t matter. Whatever the team needs, I’ll do,” Suárez said. “It’s good to come here. It’s a good organization. They’re going to help me get better.”

Suárez played with Albert Suárez, who signed a minor league contract with the Orioles last September, in the Giants organization. Manager Bruce Bochy confused the two.

“First or second day of my first big league camp, Bochy came up to me, and said, ‘hey, got a side today?’”

Andrew knew he has mistaken. “Wrong Suárez,” he told the future Hall of Fame manager.

What’s what? Elias, manager Brandon Hyde and Orioles players were asked about the sale of the team from the Angelos family to David Rubenstein. Elias was the most expansive.

“I don’t see it as particularly impactful right now,” Elias said. “We’re all here in spring training right now with a really good team and we’ve had continuity since I’ve been here. It looks to me like we’re just going to get more of that and everything that I’m hearing and seeing, it’s all very positive.

“The fact that the team is in ‘go for it’ mode, we’re focused on that, and if there’s any alteration to the way we’re handling daily business at baseball ops, I haven’t heard that yet and don’t expect that. I’m looking forward to learning more, more conversations, whatever’s next. We’re business as usual as we have been. I think there’s been a lot lately where it seems we have a lot of good momentum in this organization. It seems like there’s some positive things there would be characterized as part of that.”

What’s the word? “This is a demonstration of why you need a lot of starting pitchers.”-Elias on injuries to Bradish and Means.

What’s the number? 8. That’s the number of days until the Orioles play their first Grapefruit League game with the Boston Red Sox on February 24th at Ed Smith Stadium.

RAVENS NEWS from BaltimoreSports.com

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