If you were starting to feel good about the near future of the Orioles, it’s going to have to wait a little bit. General manager Mike Elias talked to reporters before Thursday’s game against the Mariners and announced that Grayson Rodriguez has suffered a lat strain and will be out “a decent amount of time at a minimum.” There is no immediate timetable given for a return because the severity of the strain is not currently determined. The only thing clear is that this is not a “only miss his next start” kind of injury. It’s worse than that.
Rodriguez suffered the injury while pitching Wednesday for Triple-A Norfolk. He had made it into the sixth inning of a start before a trainer came out to check on him and he left promptly. One initial report from The Baltimore Sun last night suggested that Rodriguez was only experiencing cramps due to dehydration. However, the team brought Rodriguez to Baltimore for further testing and an MRI revealed the strain.
There is not much else to say except that this sucks. Rodriguez was dominating the Triple-A level, steadily building up his pitch count, and before this injury occurred it sure seemed like he was on the edge of having nothing left to prove at Norfolk, if not already past that point. Some fans were convincing themselves his next start after last night would be in Baltimore. Now it’ll be lucky if we see him here before the end of summer.
A reporter asked Elias how close Rodriguez was to joining the Orioles before the injury. Elias responded that “the timing stinks,” then offered that he does not yet know whether the injury might impact a potential 2022 debut for Rodriguez. At this point, all we can do is hope for a less severe outcome. That’s a lot less fun than what Orioles fans could have been hoping for 48 hours ago with Rodriguez. A better future for baseball in Baltimore will have to wait a little longer.