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Saturday Bird Droppings: Félix Bautista undergoes follow-up elbow procedure

Pitchers and catchers will soon report, Westburg fighting for a role, and how the O’s sale stacks up.

Division Series - Texas Rangers v Baltimore Orioles - Game One Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Good Morning, Birdland!

We already know that O’s closer Félix Bautista is going to miss all of 2024 as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. But all indications are that he will be fit and ready to go for the start of the 2025 season.

Apparently, that outlook has not been changed this week despite news that Bautista was undergoing a second procedure to further clean up his elbow.

The technical explanation for what Bautista had done was referred to as “right elbow debridement and an ulnar nerve transposition.”

The need for this procedure seems to arise from the patient experiencing discomfort in the area. It does not seem to mean that anything is structurally “wrong,” but obviously if you are going to eventually throw 100 mph fastballs you probably want to be comfortable while doing so.

It’s scary to hear that a player needed a follow-up to an already-significant surgery. If feels like the sort of thing that has to be done when the first procedure didn’t go exactly as planned. Fortunately, that does not seem to be the case here.

For now, time is on the side of the Orioles and Bautista. There’s still more than 13 months in between now and Opening Day 2025. Considering that he got the original Tommy John surgery back in October that should be enough time to get to 100%, even with this added hurdle.

That would represent a ~17 month recovery period. That’s almost exactly what John Means recently experienced, and that included a back strain that pushed his return from July to September. If Bautista can avoid something like that, especially in the latter stages of his recovery, then he should be on track for 2025 as planned.

Links

Where Orioles’ $1.725 billion valuation stacks up among sports team sales | The Baltimore Sun
It seems fine. They sold for more than some other MLB teams that were recently on the market, but they trail a bunch of NFL and NBA franchises. That feels about right? I also don’t really care what my favorite team is worth. Just put a good team on the field!

Bar raised for Orioles as they approach spring training | Roch Kubatko
Expectations for this season were going to be higher than a year ago regardless of what the front office did. But the fact that they went out and added an ace should give the clubhouse the exact kind of boost to propel them forward. Mix in some internal competition from the likes of über prospect Jackson Holliday and you might just have the perfect soup to produce a World Series contender.

Félix Bautista Undergoes Additional Elbow Procedure | MLB Trade Rumors
More info on the elbow cleanup for the O’s all-world closer.

Westburg’s working to make his 2nd Oriole season better than his 1st | Baltimore Baseball
Considering the Orioles didn’t trade away, well, anyone from the starting lineup makes me think that Brandon Hyde’s approach to playing time will be somewhat similar to 2023. But we should see Jordan Westburg get preferential treatment early in the season. If he gets everyday at-bats, he should be producing more than Ramon Urías or Jorge Mateo did. But we need to see it to believe it.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Jorge López turns 31 today. The right-handed pitcher has appeared in four seasons for the Orioles, broken up into a stint from 2020 through 2022 and then again for a portion of 2023. He evolved from subpar starter that couldn’t get through an order twice to an all-star reliever that netted the O’s four players in a trade.
  • César Izturis is 44. From 2009 through 2011, he was the Orioles’ sure-handed and light-hitting shortstop.
  • Alberto Castillo is 54 years old. He caught 11 games for the 2007 Orioles, his final taste of big league action.
  • Lenny Webster celebrates his 59th. Between 1997 and 1999, he shared the backstop duties in Baltimore with Chris Hoiles and later Charles Johnson.
  • The late Billy O’Dell (b. 1933, d. 2018) was born on this day. He began his long big league career with a stay in Baltimore from 1954 through 1959.

This day in O’s history

2012 - The Orioles sign reliever Luis Ayala to a one-year contract. They also invite first baseman Nick Johnson and catcher C Dane Sardinha to spring training.