SARASOTA, Fla. - The frustration for one of the Orioles’ top pitching prospects, Dan Klein, continues. Drafted in the third round in 2010 out of UCLA, he was pitching so well during the 2011 season that he seemed to be on a fast track to Baltimore.
But now that track has derailed for him. Yet again.
Klein had arthroscopic shoulder surgery in 2009 while with UCLA, and since turning pro, he has had two further shoulder procedures, one in August 2011 and one last April 16.
Not that long ago, it looked like he was firmly and solidly on the comeback trail. But Klein is unable to pitch right now in minor league camp, according to O’s director of player development Brian Graham.
“He’s back in a rehab mode,” Graham said today at Twin Lakes Park. “Way behind with no timetable to pitch. There was a setback. He was on a throwing program this winter and actually making real good progress. He was out to 150 feet and doing well and then the pain came back in his shoulder. When the pain came back, he got a cortisone shot and was shut down and now he’s starting all over again. He’s just doing exercises and rehab in the training room and working his way back to another rehab program.”
Meanwhile, oft-injured minor leaguer Tyler Townsend is dealing with issues yet again.
“This is a guy with one of the best swings in the organization two years ago, but can’t seem to avoid the injury bug,” Graham said. “I think it’s a hip flexor from the weight room and he came to spring training with a bad wrist. At this point we don’t have a timetable. He is doing some work on the tee, but he is not running or fielding ground balls. His hamstring is fine. He rehabbed it great, came back healthy and had other injuries.”
Meanwhile, Henry Urrutia is hard to miss at minor league camp. The Cuban outfielder stands 6-foot-5 first of all. Then there is a lot of interest in Urrutia, since he has been discussed a lot, but has yet to play for the club.
“Yesterday was the first time he faced live pitching in two years,” Graham said of his batting practice session Monday. “He was very impressive and, you know, there is a still a lot room for this kid to grow, both physically and baseball-wise. He’s potentially a real good-looking player.”
Even though there was talk the Orioles were going to send Urrutia to Double-A last year had he played then, he may start a level or even two below that when the 2013 season begins.
“I’m not sure where he is going to start. I do know this. We need to be concerned about where he finishes and not where he starts,” Graham said. “I think it would be good for a player like him to play at whatever level he needs to play early to compete and have some success. I’m not sure where he is going to start. Frederick is a possibility, Delmarva is a possibility, I’m just not sure.”
Urrutia is getting very close to playing in a minor league game. While Chris Tillman was pitching on one field and Dylan Bundy on another this afternoon, Urrutia took some swings on a third field in a simulated game. His previous ankle injury seems to be fully recovered.
If you missed this entry from earlier, there were several minor league updates, including Matt Hobgood starting this season in the bullpen, six-man rotations in the minors and Nicky Delmonico’s move to third base.