One of the big questions heading towards the start of the 2022 season for the Orioles has been: Will the Orioles put Adley Rutschman on the Opening Day roster, where his talent belongs? The question may have gotten its answer on Wednesday morning when manager Brandon Hyde revealed that Rutschman suffered a triceps strain on Friday and will miss at least 2-3 weeks.
The shortened spring training calendar being what it is, there’s just not much time available before the season begins. Opening Day is 23 days away. Even if Rutschman was back on a field in exactly two weeks, he’d still have to go through the ramp-up process to get ready to start the season. And that’s the most generous estimate, which feels like it almost never happens when teams divulge injuries.
If it’s three weeks, then Rutschman’s only back in action two days before Opening Day. A team would be hard-pressed to squeeze a veteran onto the roster in that situation. For the Orioles, we’ll never know how tempted they might have been to ignore the loophole that allows a team to keep a top prospect in the minors for three weeks to gain an effective extra year of team control before free agency. This injury pretty much makes the decision for them.
Hyde told Orioles reporters about the injury, “I think it’s going to be an extremely small blip for a guy that’s gonna have a long career.” This is a good perspective to have, though there’s nothing to be done to replace the possible excitement of Rutschman in big league spring training that’s now vanished. Here’s hoping that his recovery is smooth and he can make his big league debut before the calendar turns to May.