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Sunday Bird Droppings: Still bummed about the John Means injury

The Orioles All-Star lefty is getting a second opinion on his elbow.

Milwaukee Brewers v Baltimore Orioles
Sounds like it’s going to be a while before we see this sight again
Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

The Orioles were able to pull a rabbit out of their hat to take down the Yankees on Friday night, but they could not find another rabbit last night. With a little assist from Mother Nature, whose sudden hailstorm led to a 50 minute delay that knocked out planned long reliever Mike Baumann after two batters, the Yankees then blitzed fresh callup Travis Lakins Sr. to stake themselves to a 5-2 lead that held the rest of the way.

After the loss, the Orioles sit at 2-6 on the season. They are the only MLB team to have scored fewer than 20 runs to date. They are one of three teams to win only two games so far. (Note: This includes the Reds, who entered Saturday at 2-6 and were losing in Los Angeles when I went to sleep last night.) What’s sad about the offense to date is that the pitching, other than one bad Lakins game and one bad Paul Fry game, has been pretty good. It is difficult to win games when your team batting line is .198/.305/.285.

There are a few players in the system where if they suffer a serious injury, it hurts way more than any loss or even month full of Orioles losses could do. Unfortunately for the Orioles, the season began with an initially minor-seeming injury to Adley Rutschman that’s still got him out of game action, and now a second one is here with the injury to John Means. It’s all there is to talk about right now.

Exactly what is going on with Means is not yet public knowledge. What we do know, based on what manager Brandon Hyde said yesterday, is that Means is seeking a second opinion about whatever is going on. That seems grim because a guy really only needs to get a second opinion if the first opinion was pretty bad news and he just wants someone else to confirm it.

Hyde, for his part, offers the quote we all have to reckon with: “I wouldn’t expect him to pitch any time soon.” It sucks. There was no Orioles plan for the 2022 season that involved not having Means for a long period of time that begins in April. Prospects whose innings aren’t built up and who don’t have a track record of Triple-A success - Grayson Rodriguez and Kyle Bradish - aren’t getting rushed.

That means the fill-in options revolve around players we saw last year who already have been dumped off the 40-man roster once. Spenser Watkins, who could start again tomorrow, is one who we saw before Means was even hurt due to the Dean Kremer injury. Perhaps Chris Ellis will soon be another. Matt Harvey will be working his way back into this picture as well, though his minor league contract signing and even pending suspension leaves him as much more of a question mark.

For this Easter Sunday, the Orioles will have more immediate concerns. Baltimore’s own Bruce Zimmermann will be making his second start of the season and he’ll have his work cut out for him against a tough Yankees lineup, though it sure is interesting that the Yankees have done poorly against every O’s pitcher who does not belong to the Lakins family in this series. That will change eventually, perhaps today.

The Orioles do have a chance to take the series with a win in the 1:05 finale. If you won’t be out with family, check back here at game time to chat about the goings-on.

Around the blogO’sphere

Hyde declines to answer whether Means will pitch again this year (Baltimore Baseball)
This kind of thing is the most grim sign of all, to me, because if there was any way Hyde could offer a positive spin, I think he would do so.

Hyde on promoting pitching prospects without Means (School of Roch)
They’re not going to do it! These are not the days of Andy MacPhail promising there’s no way they’d rush pitchers and changing his mind a week later.

Life without Means will stretch pitching-thin Orioles (Orioles.com)
“Don’t forget about Harvey” is really not an exciting series of words.

Without John Means, where does Orioles rotation turn? Here are the options. (The Baltimore Sun)
The choices have not gotten any better just because a different outlet’s Orioles beat writer was writing about it.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

The Orioles were most recently victorious on this date just last year. They beat the Rangers, 6-1, to improve to 7-8 in the early days of the 2021 campaign. The O’s scored all six runs in the final three innings of the game; Maikel Franco and Freddy Galvis accounted for seven of the team’s 13 hits. Recently-returned reliever Travis Lakins Sr. picked up the victory.

There are a pair of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 1988-91 infielder Craig Worthington, and 1983 two-game catcher Dave Huppert. Today is Huppert’s 65th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you as well! Your birthday buddies for today include: Maryland-based Declaration of Independence signer Samuel Chase (1741), robber baron J.P. Morgan (1837), baseball Hall of Famer Cap Anson (1852), novelist/playwright Thornton Wilder (1897), wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper (1954), Tool musician Maynard James Keenan (1964), and actress Jennifer Garner (1972).

On this day in history...

In 1521, Martin Luther was put on trial by the Diet of Worms over his teaching.

In 1907, Ellis Island’s immigration center had its busiest recorded day, processing 11,747 people.

In 1961, CIA trained Cuban exiles landed at the Bay of Pigs with the goal of overthrowing Fidel Castro.

In 1970, Apollo 13’s crew safely splashed down back on Earth.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on April 17. Have a safe Easter Sunday. Go O’s!