Orioles nearer Félix Bautista took a major step towards a possible return this season, throwing his first bullpen session since partially tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his proper elbow Aug. 25 in opposition to the Colorado Rockies.
The right-hander’s throwing plans had slowly progressed from taking part in catch on flat floor just a few occasions per week to throwing on back-to-back days Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, he ramped up and threw about 20 to 25 pitches within the bullpen, per supervisor Brandon Hyde’s estimation, whereas mixing in splitters and sliders earlier than the Orioles’ matinee in opposition to the Tampa Bay Rays.
“I think it went pretty well,” Hyde stated. “That was the next step in his throwing progression so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow, just taking it day by day. … I just ran into him after the side session and it sounds like it went pretty well, so that’s always encouraging.”
Hyde tempered his emotions of encouragement with a reminder that Bautista, 28, hasn’t but reached the purpose of throwing constant bullpen periods or going through batters.
“But for him to be able to feel good after playing catch and after his first side, I think that’s important,” Hyde stated.
Last week, govt vp and normal supervisor Mike Elias stated the Orioles are taking a “conservative approach” by trying to have Bautista return relatively than “diving into an operative procedure.”
“I think the fact that we’re keeping him throwing right now speaks to the fact that this is not over for 2023, and it’s just going to depend on how he feels as we keep this going,” Elias stated.
Bautista had been cruising on historic tempo earlier than throwing the 102.3 mph fastball that derailed his season. With an 8-2 document, the nearer has recorded 33 saves with a 1.48 ERA and 16.2 strikeouts per 9 innings.
Elias advised reporters the group is taking Bautista’s throwing development “day by day,” and now there’s rising optimism of a possible return this season.
Hyde reiterated Bautista’s significance to the Orioles, who might clinch a postseason berth Sunday, calling him “the difference-maker.”
“Look at our run differentials, they’re way different because we won a lot of close games. I think Felix honestly was the difference-maker for me. He was unbelievable before he got hurt,” he stated. “How many games he won us late, [Yennier] Cano, [Danny] Coulombe, Bautista at the end of a game, we played so many close games there for so long that we were able to win more than lose.”
Ryan Mountcastle replace
Hyde stated Ryan Mountcastle, who exited Wednesday’s recreation in opposition to the St. Louis Cardinals with left shoulder discomfort, “is going a little bit better” however didn’t say when the primary baseman may return to motion.
“He tried to swing yesterday a little bit; I guess that didn’t go great,” Hyde stated. “He’s gonna go out and swing in the cage now. Hopefully he starts feeling better and he can be an option for us off the bench.”