Kjerstad begins physical activity in Sarasota

August 21st, 2021

BALTIMORE -- It’s been more than 14 months since the Orioles drafted second overall in the 2020 MLB Draft, and he’s still yet to play professionally. But the club’s No. 7 prospect is now trending in that direction.

Orioles general manager and executive vice president Mike Elias said on Friday that Kjerstad has begun physical activity at the club’s Sarasota, Fla., complex for the first time. Kjerstad, 22, had been sidelined due to myocarditis.

“This is great news,” Elias said. “He’s progressing into a rehab status of getting back toward baseball activity hopefully soon. This was a very tricky condition and something, being cardiac-related, we were exceedingly cautious about and continue to have a cautious mindset towards. … With the offseason being around the corner, we’ll be able to have time on our side and proceed carefully and, fingers crossed, hopefully have him for Spring Training.”

Baltimore hoped to have Kjerstad in camp this past spring, but Kjerstad never reported due to the lingering illness. He has not been made available to speak publicly since his Draft night, and last played competitively in March 2020 for the University of Arkansas.

Also from the trainer’s room
• It’s unclear if left-hander Bruce Zimmermann (ankle) will return this season, Elias said. Sidelined since mid-June with left shoulder fatigue, Zimmermann was set to be activated to pitch in last weekend’s series in Boston when he suffered a “pretty bad” ankle sprain “working in the weight room,” Elias said. The rookie was 4-4 with a 4.83 ERA in 12 games (11 starts) this season after making Baltimore’s rotation out of Spring Training.

• Anthony Santander was held out of Friday’s starting lineup for the second time in three games due to lingering right ankle soreness, manager Brandon Hyde said. Santander has been dealing with the issue since late April, when he sprained his ankle in Miami and spent a month on the injured list. He’s hit .237 with 10 homers and a .690 OPS in 80 games, with his power numbers dulled by the issue. Hyde has said repeatedly it will be something Santander needs to continue managing down the stretch.

• RHP Hunter Harvey (right shoulder discomfort) and LHP Zac Lowther (left shoulder strain) are both continuing their rehab assignments on Saturday, with Harvey at Triple-A Norfolk and Lowther at High-A Aberdeen. Lowther will require another rehab start on Thursday, likely at Double-A Bowie, while Harvey will be re-evaluated after Saturday with an eye toward potentially returning to the big league roster. Harvey has been limited to nine appearances this season due to right shoulder and lat injuries.

Birthday Boog
A fixture on Eutaw Street for decades, Boog Powell ventured back inside the ballpark on Friday night. The Orioles gave away Powell T-shirts and played a video tribute to wish the former slugger a happy 80th birthday, after the team legend and fan favorite became an octogenarian earlier this week.

Powell was also one of two honored guests to throw out ceremonial first pitches before Friday’s game. The other was Emmett Antonen, son of the late MASN sportswriter and analyst Mel Antonen. The O's also played a video tribute to Antonen, who died from COVID-19 complications in January at age 64 after a 30-plus year career covering baseball.