Home Sports Orioles’ John Means, Tyler Wells to both undergo season-ending surgery for second torn UCLs

Orioles’ John Means, Tyler Wells to both undergo season-ending surgery for second torn UCLs

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BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - MAY 11: John Means #47 of the Baltimore Orioles throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 11, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
John Means’ future with the Orioles is cloudy due to his latest surgery. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

Both the left and right arms in the Baltimore Orioles rotation need work, and this will cost the team two pitchers for the rest of the season.

Orioles left-hander John Means and right-hander Austin Wells will undergo season-ending surgery to repair torn UCL ligaments in their pitching arms, general manager Mike Elias told reporters Friday. . according to Jake Rill of MLB.com.

It has reportedly not yet been determined whether those surgeries will be a Tommy John surgery. Both pitchers have undergone the dreaded procedure (Wells in 2019, Means in 2022), but there could be other options, such as orthopedic surgery that has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is notoriously difficult to recover from a second Tommy John surgery, with more intense rehab and a longer timeline to return to the mound.

The Orioles entered Friday with a 35-19 record, two games behind the first-place New York Yankees and the third-best starting pitcher ERA in MLB at 3.03. Means and Wells combined to start only seven of those 59 games.

Without them, Rill speculates the Orioles will move forward with a rotation of Corbin Burnes, Kyle Bradish, Grayson Rodriguez, Cole Irvin and Albert Suarez.

This latest news is a brutal blow to Means in particular, and could spell the end of an Orioles tenure that began with so much promise.

Means looked like a real building block for Baltimore in 2019, a time when building blocks for the tank organization were hard to come by. He finished second in American League Rookie of the Year voting with a 3.60 ERA in 155 innings, a pleasant surprise given that the soft-throwing left-hander was an 11th round pick and ranked No. 29 on the Orioles’ prospect list. from MLB Pipeline.

He continued through the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season and threw a no-hitter in May 2021, but went on the disabled list a month later with a shoulder issue, the first in a series of health issues that led to to undergo TJ surgery. two years ago.

Now Means, 31, is sidelined for the rest of the season and will almost certainly have to miss a large chunk of 2025 as well, with no guarantee he’ll be the same when he returns. It’s very bad timing considering he’s set to hit free agency this offseason.

Players in this situation have a few options. They can spend the rest of their time with the team, hit free agency, and hope someone is willing to give them a two-year deal, with the understanding that the hopefully healthy second year is what the team it’s paying. They can also enter free agency and wait until they are healthy to find a team.

There’s also the possibility of a financial extension, should the Orioles want to keep Means and hope he can still help them contend for a World Series. However, given the team’s supplied farm system, it might not be a good option.

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