Orioles pitcher Kyle Bradish to open 2024 on injured list with elbow sprain

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Two weeks after trading for a bona fide ace, the Orioles revealed they won’t have their top starting pitcher from 2023 for at least the beginning of the new season.

Speaking to reporters on the first day of spring workouts in Sarasota, general manager Mike Elias announced right-hander Kyle Bradish will begin 2024 on the injured list with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, a concerning development for the 27-year-old who finished fourth in AL Cy Young Award voting last year. Bradish pitched to an outstanding 2.83 ERA with 168 strikeouts in 168 2/3 innings to help lead Baltimore to a division championship and its first 100-plus-win season since 1980.

The Orioles acquired 2021 NL Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes in a trade with Milwaukee on Feb. 1, but Bradish was projected to be the No. 2 starter after taking the ball for the opener of the AL Division Series against Texas last October.

Elias said Bradish received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his right elbow and is scheduled to begin a throwing progression on Friday. Of course, the Orioles and fans will hold their breath in hopes of Bradish responding favorably and avoiding the dreaded Tommy John surgery, which has already sidelined All-Star closer Felix Bautista for the 2024 season. Elias expressed optimism that “everything is pointed in the right direction” with Bradish at this time.

“Our plans are to get him pitching in 2024,” Elias told reporters in Sarasota. “Pitching, it’s a dangerous business nowadays. You never like to hear anybody have elbow or shoulder or wrist injuries or what have you, but there’s a lot of people that have had them and never have to get surgery and rest and other treatments do the trick. Hopefully, that’s where we’re at with this one.”

With Bradish being one of several Orioles hurlers to set career highs in innings last season, the start of spring training always figured to be a greater “hold your breath” time than it already is for pitchers. Including an April rehab start with Double-A Bowie and his postseason loss to the Rangers, Bradish pitched a combined 178 1/3 innings last season, 33 more than he threw between Baltimore and the minors in 2022.


Bradish’s UCL sprain wasn’t the only bad injury news with Elias announcing left-hander John Means is a month behind other pitchers in camp, leaving his Opening Day status in doubt. Means returned from 2022 Tommy John surgery last September to make four starts and was in line to be part of the postseason rotation before being shut down with elbow soreness, which put him behind to start his offseason throwing program.

With two spots now open in the Baltimore rotation to start the new season, right-hander Tyler Wells and lefty Cole Irvin figure to be the top internal candidates to slot behind Burnes and right-handers Grayson Rodriguez and Dean Kremer. However, several starting pitchers remain available on the free-agent market, a list headlined by 2023 NL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery.

Star infielder Gunnar Henderson is recovering from a “mild oblique aggravation,” but he’s expected to be ready in time for Opening Day, according to Elias.

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