Orioles' Means, Wells to have season-ending elbow surgery - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Orioles’ Means, Wells to have season-ending elbow surgery

John Means and Tyler Wells
Photo credit: Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports

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BALTIMORE—Oriole pitchers John Means and Tyler Wells will have season-ending elbow surgery, executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias announced on Friday.

It will be the second elbow surgery for both. Means had Tommy John surgery in April 2022, and the 31-year-old left-hander started eight games before the elbow flared up again.

Wells had Tommy John surgery in May 2019 while he was with the Minnesota Twins. He’s been on the 15-day injured list since mid-April and the 29-year-old right-hander had been working out in Sarasota.

“Unfortunately, both players are going to miss the remainder of the season and undergo elbow surgery in the coming days,” Elias said. “Both pitchers, after a lot of medical attention and diagnoses, were determined that they were going to require revision repair to their ulnar collateral ligaments.

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“It’s a very unfortunate situation for us, for them, tough news for everybody, but we’ll take great care of them and get them back to their skill levels in due time.”

Elias said that both pitchers were having their ligaments repaired, but he didn’t definitively say they’d have Tommy John surgery, which is reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament.

“When that happens, you don’t quite know which surgery is going to be the ultimate solution until they start their surgery, so there’s a possibility of some different time frames based on what exactly takes place once they start their arthroscopic surgery, but suffice to say, they’re getting worked on on their ligaments,” Elias said. “That’s going to knock them out the rest of this year.”

Elias said that he thinks the Orioles have sufficient depth.

“It’s hard not to be surprised by that,” Elias said. “That’s something you always plan for, and I think usually baseball teams go into spring training with eight or nine starting pitching options. Now, we’re down a couple.

“Fortunately, our staff did a good job finding a guy like [Albert] Suárez, who’s pitching tonight and we have other pitchers in Triple-A we’re looking at very closely and are poised to help this team coming up.

“Knock on wood, I still feel pretty good about the starting pitching options we have at the moment. We’ll obviously monitor things and continue to see what happens, both internally and externally, over the next couple of months before closing the book on the starting situation.”

Wells started three times before his elbow flared up.

“He started playing catch and just continued to experience discomfort,” Elias said. “Sometimes you look at veteran pitchers’ elbows with imaging, and you’re going to see stuff.

“It’s not entirely clear what the immediate course of action should be. You try conservative methods first usually, and those failed in this case. Everybody agreed at this point to fix it and get it behind him, but it’s going to take a large chunk of time.”

The trade deadline isn’t until July 30th, and the Orioles will be engaged in conversations.

“We’re in contact with other teams,” Elias said. “Monitoring what’s going on in the standings in the rest of the league, but typically the old adage is Memorial Day is around when teams start to self-assess and start to plan for the trade deadline, but that adage dates back to before they added the other wild-card spot and there’s a lot of teams that are below .500, and if you look, they’re a couple of games out of a playoff spot.

“We’ve got to see how the whole market evolves, and we’re also monitoring our own developments internally in the minors. These injuries are significant developments, obviously. It’s not something that we need to address today to get another starting pitcher in the organization and fortunately at this time, we’ve got five guys up here playing pretty well.

“…It would be foolish to think that this would be our last pitching injuries and there’s a lot of time left, so well see what happens.”

Elias also said that starting pitcher Dean Kremer, who’s on the 15-day injured list with a sore right triceps muscle, is improving but could require a rehab assignment.

“It’s just an inflamed triceps muscle,” Elias said. “This is not something we’re worried about, and he’s coming along. It’ll take some time and might require some type of rehab appearance or two to get him back up here. We expect him back and would not rule him out for the month, late in the month of June, but we’ll see.”

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