O's Bautista to IL with 'some degree of injury' to UCL

August 26th, 2023

BALTIMORE -- Orioles All-Star closer is headed to the 15-day injured list, with general manager Mike Elias telling reporters on Saturday that he has "some degree of injury" to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

“It’s less than 24 hours now and that’s all I’ve got,” Elias said. “He’s going on the IL. We don’t have a plan beyond that. We have not firmed up any kind of timetable or anything of that nature.”

Manager Bradon Hyde said Saturday Bautista was still undergoing testing.

“Letting it calm down a little bit too,” Hyde said. “We’re still unclear on some things and we’re hoping for the best.”

Bautista exited Baltimore's 5-4 victory over the the Rockies on Friday after recording two outs due to discomfort in his right elbow. The 28-year-old is enjoying a breakout season, with 33 saves, a 1.48 ERA and 110 strikeouts in 61 innings for the first-place Orioles.

“A Félix Bautista absence, even if it's a short one, is not something that's easy to cover. He's the best reliever in baseball right now,” Elias said. “But we do have many talented arms. … This is a talented group, a very resilient group and some guys are going to get an opportunity to really make their impact for the next, foreseeable set of games.”

All-Star right-handed reliever Yennier Cano has four saves and a 1.62 ERA, and left-hander Danny Coulombe, who finished the game Friday night, has two saves and a 2.75 ERA.

In addition, Baltimore recalled 24-year-old left-hander DL Hall from Triple-A Norfolk and Elias said he will join the bullpen.

“I feel like where we are right now with our bullpen, I feel good about the way a lot of guys are throwing the baseball,” Hyde said. “Tonight, I’m just going to match up the best I can.”

After retiring the first two batters he faced in the ninth Friday, Bautista fired a two-strike 102.3 mph fastball high and outside to pinch-hitter Michael Toglia, spinning around and stumbling a bit on the front of the mound.

“I could tell something was not right the way he finished there,” Hyde said. “I didn’t know if it was knee or if it was a lower-half injury or what it was. But when he turned back around, I knew something wasn’t right. You’re hoping for the best when you go out there.”

Hyde held a brief meeting with the team Saturday to tell them about Bautista’s injury. He also met with his reliever.

“He’s not in a lot of pain,” Hyde said. “He’s obviously very disappointed and upset. And rightfully so. It’s hard to watch him get the news. Just feel for the guy. I love the guy so much.”