Orioles' Kyle Bradish to start season on IL with elbow sprain

Baltimore Orioles right-hander Kyle Bradish will start the season on the injured list because of a sprained UCL in his pitching elbow.

Bradish's elbow sprain was one of several injuries announced Thursday by Orioles general manager Mike Elias, who also revealed that star infielder Gunnar Henderson is dealing with an oblique injury and that left-hander John Means is a month behind Baltimore's other starting pitchers and likely won't be ready for Opening Day.

Elias told reporters that "everything is pointing in the right direction" for Bradish, who received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his elbow and will begin a throwing program Friday. Although he did not offer a specific timeline for Bradish's return, Elias said he expects the hard-throwing right-hander to pitch for the Orioles in 2024.

Elias offered similar optimism when asked about Henderson, the 2023 American League Rookie of the Year. Henderson likely will miss two to three weeks but is expected to be ready for Opening Day, according to Elias, who described Henderson's injury as "really typical" for "early spring training."

The Orioles' timeline was not as promising for Means, whose offseason pitching program was delayed due to the elbow injury that forced him to miss last year's AL Division Series. Orioles manager Brandon Hyde acknowledged that, because of the delay, he is expecting Means to start the season on the IL.

Elias also announced that top catching prospect Samuel Basallo has a stress fracture in his right elbow and won't start throwing until April. The Orioles will plan to use Basallo as a designated hitter during spring training, but he won't return to catching until April at the earliest.

Bradish, 27, went 12-7 with a 2.83 ERA over 30 starts during his breakout 2023 season. He was slated to be a cornerstone of an Orioles starting rotation strengthened by their acquisition of 2021 Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes earlier this month from the Milwaukee Brewers.

Without Bradish and Means, who pitched in just four games last season as part of his recovery from 2022 Tommy John surgery, the defending AL East champion Orioles have two openings in their rotation behind Burnes, Grayson Rodriguez and Dean Kremer.

Tyler Wells and Cole Irvin both have starting experience, and Elias also acknowledged that the Orioles would be open to adding another pitcher to their rotation before the start of the season.