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All-Star closer Bautista has TJ surgery, targets ’25 return

All-Star closer Bautista has TJ surgery, targets ’25 return

LATEST NEWS

Oct. 7: Orioles set 26-man roster for ALDS vs. Rangers
Baltimore went with 14 position players and 12 pitchers for the best-of-five American League Division Series against Texas. Heston Kjerstad (the O’s No. 3 prospect and MLB Pipeline’s No. 24 overall prospect) was the most notable inclusion on the position-player side, as the 24-year-old outfielder will serve as a potent left-handed bat to come off the bench.

Left-hander John Means — who made four September starts after returning from Tommy John surgery — is not on the Orioles’ ALDS roster, as the 30-year-old felt elbow soreness earlier in the week. He could be on the roster for the AL Championship Series (should Baltimore advance).

The final spot in the O’s bullpen went to righty Bryan Baker, who was selected over fellow righty Mike Baumann.

INJURY UPDATES

10-day and 15-day IL

RHP Félix Bautista (Tommy John surgery)
Expected return: Spring Training 2025
Bautista underwent Tommy John surgery on Oct. 9 at Trinity Park Surgery Center in Arlington. The procedure was performed by Dr. Keith Meister. Bautista is expected to be sidelined for all of the 2024 season. General manager Mike Elias announced Bautista would need the surgery Sept. 30 after the right-hander had spent most of the month throwing bullpen sessions. He threw a 25-pitch simulated game at Camden Yards on Sept. 26, but the Orioles decided they ran out of time to try to have him pitch through the partial tear of his UCL and contribute in the postseason. (No further damage was caused to the ligament by having the All-Star closer throw.)

Baltimore is mixing and matching relievers to get through the late innings of games for the rest of this postseason, but it will have to decide whether to add a closer this offseason to help offset the loss of Bautista in 2024. (Last updated: Oct. 9)

60-day IL

INF/OF Terrin Vavra (strained right shoulder)
Expected return: 2024
Vavra was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk and immediately placed on the 60-day injured list on Sept. 14 after spending the previous three months on the Minor League IL. The 26-year-old made the Orioles’ 2023 Opening Day roster and slashed .245/.315/.245 with five RBIs in 27 games over two stints with the club. (Last updated: Sept. 14)

LHP Keegan Akin (lower back discomfort)
Expected return: Likely 2024
Akin has not pitched since Aug. 3, when he struck out one and walked one over a scoreless inning in a rehab outing for Triple-A Norfolk. Previously, he had allowed three runs on four hits over one inning in the Rookie-level Florida Complex League on July 31.

The 28-year-old left-hander went on the 15-day IL on June 30 (retroactive to June 29), two days after he allowed four runs (two earned) in two-thirds of an inning vs. the Reds. Akin has a 6.85 ERA in 24 appearances for the Orioles this season. He was transferred to the 60-day IL on Aug. 23. (Last updated: Aug. 23)

RHP Dillon Tate (right elbow flexor strain)
Expected return: Likely 2024
After getting a second opinion on his injured right elbow, Tate was shut down and went to the Orioles’ spring complex in Sarasota, Fla. The 29-year-old right-hander made three rehab appearances for Triple-A Norfolk between June 15 and 21, allowing five runs over 2 1/3 innings.

Tate, who hasn’t pitched for the Orioles yet this year, made 10 Minor League appearances during a 30-day rehab assignment from late April to late May. But Elias announced on May 26 that Tate experienced a setback when he sustained a stress reaction in the elbow. Elias said the reaction was separate from the previous injury. (Last updated: July 28)

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