Means' MRI reveals 'normal wear and tear'

All-Star lefty dealing with minor rotator cuff inflammation

July 28th, 2019

ANAHEIM -- A day after John Means underwent an MRI on his tight left biceps, the Orioles and their All-Star lefty were relieved when the testing revealed good news. Means said the results showed little more than minor rotator cuff inflammation, and indicated no structural damage to his left arm.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde called the issue “normal wear and tear.” The club remains hopeful that Means, who has been on the injured list since Friday, will still be able to return when eligible next weekend.

“It’s very minor, about what I was expecting,” Means said. “That was nice to see.”

In the meantime, Means said he’ll abstain from throwing until the middle of next week, in hopes that the biceps tightness he’s suffering from will dissipate with treatment. Means said he experienced “dead arm” feeling before going 3 1/3 innings in his last start, a 5-2 loss to the D-backs on Wednesday. He was placed on the injured list two day later (retroactive to Thursday) and would be eligible to return August 4 against Toronto at the earliest.

Means' absence requires the Orioles to field a replacement at least for Monday, which as of Sunday morning, they’d yet to decide on. They prefer first to see what their pitching picture looks like after Sunday’s series finale against the Angels. Right-hander Gabriel Ynoa would appear to be the leading in-house candidate to start what would likely be a bullpen day.

The Orioles are also considering using an opener (likely Jimmy Yacabonis) Tuesday ahead of rookie righty Tom Eshelman, so Means’ injury could result in considerable roster shuffling for a staff that’s seen more than its fair share of it this season. Baltimore has already used a franchise-record 33 pitchers in 2019.

This is the second IL stint this season for Means, a 26-year-old rookie who’d pitched at least 138 innings in each of his last four Minor League seasons. He’s logged 98 innings through 21 games (17 starts) this season, going 8-6 with a 3.12 ERA in those outings.

“Up here, it’s just high-intensity innings,” Means said. “Throwing 100 innings up here feels like throwing 200 in the Minors. It’s one of those things that I’m experiencing as I go, and I’m glad I’m experiencing it now. It’ll be good for the future.”