Bradish feeling good after first rehab start

April 17th, 2024

BALTIMORE -- has taken more encouraging steps in his recovery from a right UCL sprain.

On Tuesday night, the Orioles right-hander made his first rehab start for Double-A Bowie, where he tossed three scoreless innings vs. Altoona. More important than the results, Bradish came out of the outing in good shape and was feeling well Wednesday morning, according to Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde.

“Positive reports, came off the mound feeling good,” Hyde said. “He’s excited about his outing, excited for his next rehab start. The bottom line is he felt good after 40-plus pitches in three innings, and got some reports from some people that were there that said his stuff looked really good. We’re happy about that.”

Bradish faced 10 batters and gave up only one hit. He struck out four while throwing 44 pitches (26 strikes). His fastball was hitting 95-96 mph on the radar gun at Prince George’s Stadium.

The Orioles’ rotation has been shorthanded since the start of the season -- John Means (left forearm strain) also opened the year on the injured list -- and a return by Bradish could provide a huge boost. The 27-year-old had a breakout year in 2023, when he recorded a 2.83 ERA and 168 strikeouts in 168 2/3 innings over 30 starts. He finished fourth in American League Cy Young Award voting.

As Bradish began his throwing program in January, he sustained the sprain in his right UCL. He later received a platelet-rich plasma injection, then restarted his progression on Feb. 16, the second day of pitcher workouts at O’s Spring Training in Sarasota, Fla.

Bradish had thrown bullpen sessions and live batting practice in the past two months, but his outing on Tuesday marked his first game action since starting Game 1 of last year’s American League Division Series vs. Texas, when he allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings as Baltimore went on to get swept in three games by the eventual World Series champions.

Now that Bradish has started a rehab assignment, he said he’s using this period as his version of Spring Training. He’s working on mechanical stuff and preparing to rejoin the Orioles’ rotation, which could happen sometime in May.

“The only real challenge is making sure you’re ready when you come in, because these games matter,” Bradish said earlier this week. “Just the day by day, knowing that it’s a long process and that you’re not going to have overnight fixes for anything, not going to feel 100 percent every day. But luckily, I haven’t had any setbacks, so it’s been a pretty positive [rehab].”

It isn’t yet known when Bradish will make his second rehab start, though he’d be on regular rest for Bowie’s series finale vs. Altoona on Sunday afternoon.

Before Bradish rejoins Baltimore, the team should add Means to its staff. The 30-year-old left-hander is scheduled to make his fourth rehab start for Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday night at Jacksonville and is getting closer to being activated by the O’s in either late April or early May.

The Orioles need reinforcements after placing right-hander Tyler Wells (right elbow inflammation) on the 15-day IL on Tuesday. That move led to righty Albert Suárez being called up to start Wednesday afternoon’s series finale vs. the Twins at Camden Yards, the 34-year-old’s first MLB appearance in six years and 204 days.

Entering Wednesday, the O’s were 8-0 in games started by ace Corbin Burnes and righty Grayson Rodriguez and 3-6 in contests started by anybody else.