Bradish exit adds to Orioles’ early pitching concerns before Wells saves day in Monday’s win

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After giving up 24 earned runs in their opening series loss at Boston, the Orioles were looking for a quality outing and some length from Kyle Bradish in his 2023 debut to begin a three-game set at Texas on Monday night.

But they ended up getting just that from another member of the starting rotation as Tyler Wells saved the day in a 2-0 win over the Rangers.

Baltimore’s early-season pitching concerns only grew as Bradish exited with two outs in the second inning after being struck on the right foot by a 104-mph liner off the bat of Texas catcher Jonah Heim. After head athletic trainer Brian Ebel and manager Brandon Hyde came to the mound to check on him, the 26-year-old right-hander threw one warmup pitch and then limped off the field as lefty Danny Coulombe entered in relief. Preliminary X-rays were negative for a fracture, but the Orioles said Bradish would undergo further evaluation and testing for what they initially labeled a contusion, making it unclear whether he would make his next start.

The scheduled Tuesday starter, Wells stepped up in Bradish’s absence to toss five no-hit innings on just 47 pitches to save a taxed bullpen and lead the Orioles back to the .500 mark at 2-2. Though Hyde was noncommittal about his pitching plan for Tuesday’s game after Wells thrived in emergency relief, Baltimore could elect to move up Kyle Gibson from Wednesday since the Opening Day starter would still be on regular rest. Such rotation shuffling would also leave open the possibility of the Orioles summoning top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez — who made his 2023 season debut at Triple-A Norfolk last Friday night — to start Wednesday afternoon’s finale against the Rangers.

Closer Felix Bautista finished off Monday’s improbable one-hit shutout with two strikeouts in a perfect ninth inning to record his second save of the season.

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