Bradish to undergo tests on sore right elbow

Another injury has hit an Orioles rotation that drifts toward fuller strength and is knocked back again.

Kyle Bradish exited tonight’s game after the fifth inning with soreness in his right elbow. He surrendered his first two home runs of the season and left with the Orioles down 2-1 in a game they’d lose 5-3 in 11 innings.

“He came to us and said his elbow was bothering him, so we’re going to get further tests on that,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Nothing, really, else to say except we’re going to get further tests on his elbow. So he had to come out of the game after that inning.”

The possibility of a health setback loomed over Bradish since January, when he was diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and received a platelet-rich plasma injection. He began the season on the injured list, made the first of his eight starts on May 2 and entered tonight’s game with a 2.62 ERA and 1.107 WHIP with 49 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings.

Perhaps better than the 2023 version that finished fourth in Cy Young voting in the American League and started Game 1 of the Division Series.

“It’s really tough,” said outfielder Austin Hays. “I’m going to say a lot of prayers tonight. Just get it looked at and kind of go from there. But yeah, anytime you know a guy’s battled back from an injury, when you have to come out of a game, it’s really tough.”

Bradish’s velocity was outstanding early in the game, with his five-pitch sequence to Bryce Harper in the first bringing radar readings of 98 mph, 98.1, 97.9, 98.4 and a career-high 98.6. He retired 11 batters in a row after Kyle Schwarber’s leadoff homer in the first.

“His fastball, he was throwing 98, 99 there in the first inning,” Hyde said. “Just kind of hung that breaking ball to Schwarbs there in the first, but besides that I thought he had great stuff. It’s unfortunate he had to come out after five.”

John Means watched the game from the dugout with a brace on his left arm after his second Tommy John surgery. Tyler Wells will undergo his own ulnar collateral ligament repair in the near future. Dean Kremer is joining Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday to begin an injury rehab assignment after straining his right triceps. Reliever Danny Coulombe is on the 15-day injured list with left elbow inflammation. Closer Félix Bautista is working out in Baltimore while recovering from Tommy John surgery in October that forces him to miss the entire 2024 season.

A team that ranked among the healthiest the past two seasons feels like it’s being gutted.

“It’s really hard,” Hays said. “We’ve been together for a while now. These are our brothers in here. So when you see your brother get hurt, it’s tough. I’ve gone through a lot of injuries in my career. I’ve gone through surgeries. I know everything that comes with it. You just always pray for the best, that it’s not going to come down to that.”

The loss left the Orioles at 45-24 and 3 ½ games behind the first-place Yankees, but they remain one of baseball’s best teams while fighting through the adversity.

“Injuries are part of the game,” Hays said. “We play a sport where we play every day. Injuries happen. A lot of injuries happen. We had this talk in spring training that it wasn’t just going to be the 26 guys that we break with. It’s going to be guys who are in Triple-A, it’s going to be guys that are going to debut. It’s guys who aren’t necessarily in a starting role that are going to have to step up. Guys off the bench night in and night out. It’s kind of what this team is built on and why we’ve been so good the last couple years. It’s that next-man-up mentality.

“We just rally together, we stick together, and guys continue to just step up for one another.”

The game was delayed one hour and 11 minutes by rain after the bottom of the 10th inning. Alec Bohm delivered a two-run double off Jacob Webb following an intentional walk to Harper, and the Orioles couldn’t score against Seranthony Dominguez.

Bohm’s liner was 105.6 mph off the bat, Hays reached for it and the ball eluded his glove. It had an expected batting average of .830 but Hays blamed himself for the runs scoring.

“I have to make that catch,” he said. “I was there, the route was there, my glove was there. I just didn’t make the catch. I have to make that catch. I expect that of myself. I know the team expects that of me. And I’m going to lose sleep over that tonight because I know that’s a catch that I can make. I’ve got to make that catch for Webby.”

Keegan Akin retired all nine batters he faced in his longest outing since Sept. 28, 2022 in Boston.

“Oh my God, he was incredible,” Hyde said. “Three hitless innings with really good stuff coming off one day of rest. So Akin picked us up big-time out of the bullpen. Was fantastic. Gave us a chance.”

“He was lights-out for us,” Hays said. “He gave us a chance tonight.”

Anthony Santander hit a game-tying homer in the eighth.

“That’s what Tony does, man,” Hays said. “How many times I’ve stood in the on-deck circle and watched him do that in a big moment in the game, I’ve lost count at this point. He’s so clutch for this team.”

Cedric Mullins scored on a wild pitch in the 10th, diving across the plate and getting the safe call after a review. But the Orioles were 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

“That’s why it’s so important that he’s on the field, because he’s just a game-changer,” Hays said.

“It was just an incredible slide. The ball bounced right back to the catcher and he still found a way to get in there and make himself safe. It’s fun to watch, you know? It’s fun to be standing in the dugout and watch him get around that slide.”

A sellout crowd of 43,987 watched, though the ballpark emptied quite a bit during the delay. Two more capacity crowds are coming this weekend.

“The energy in the stadium was unbelievable,” Hays said. “It was like everything was riding on every pitch for both sides. A lot of Phillies fans there, too, so whether it was going their way or our way, it was loud. As a player, you dream of games like that. You play 162 but they’re not all like that. There’s only a handful of games in a regular season when the energy of the stadium is like it was tonight.

“I wish we could have came out on top for the fans, but it was a fun game to be a part of, for sure.”

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