Good news, bad news for H. Harvey in rehab

September 3rd, 2021

NEW YORK -- The good news regarding Hunter Harvey? He’s healthy again. The bad? He’s not pitching well.

For that reason the Orioles are keeping the hard-throwing right-hander at Triple-A Norfolk for the time being after he experienced a rough outing on Wednesday, allowing four runs in two-thirds of an inning in his fourth appearance of what’s now been a two-week rehab stint. The longer it extends, the less likely Harvey is to return to the Majors this season.

“As of right now, he’s going to stay and continue to pitch there,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We’ll continue to evaluate whether we’re going to bring him up or not.”

It’s a disappointing development for Harvey, who the Orioles hoped would emerge as a key bullpen piece but has again been beset by injuries. Now 26, Harvey missed the season’s first two months due to a torn right lat and made nine appearances in June before reporting soreness in the back of his shoulder, likely related to the original lat injury. He’s been on the injured list since June 28, and at Norfolk since Aug. 18.

Harvey can remain on rehab assignment for a maximum of 30 days, or until Sept. 18.

“We were seeing how he was coming back after his outings and how he felt after,” Hyde said. “The reports I get is that he felt fine after his last outing. I think everybody feels the right thing for him ... is not throw him into a Major League game yet and continue to re-evaluate every time he throws.”

Baltimore's first-round pick in 2013, Harvey missed years of development to elbow and other arm issues before debuting down the stretch in 2019. Stiffness in his elbow limited him to 8 2/3 innings during the shortened 2020 season, after which he doubled his typical amount of offseason throwing and altered his conditioning plan with an eye toward staying healthy.

A healthy Harvey profiles as a high-leverage option in a bullpen short on them. Baltimore’s 'pen has struggled mightily without him, entering play Friday with an MLB-high 5.44 collective ERA.

“It’s a huge season,” Harvey said in February. “I have to stay healthy, and that’s what we’re shooting for.”