Brandon Hyde updates Félix Bautista's side session, plus other notes

Orioles closer Félix Bautista, on the injured list with a partial tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, took a potentially significant step today.

He threw off a mound in the Orioles bullpen before the series finale with Tampa Bay.

“He just threw a side this morning,” manager Brandon Hyde said in his pregame press conference. “Sounds like it went pretty well. That was kind of the next step in his throwing progression. So, see how he feels tomorrow. We’re just kind of day-to-day with him right now.”

Hyde was asked if he is pleased with this progress for Bautista, who has not pitched since Aug. 25.

“Yeah. I just ran into him and (head athletic trainer) Brian (Ebel) after the side session and it sounds like it went pretty well. That’s always encouraging," he said.

“You know it’s still a long process back. He has to face hitters and throw more sides and things like that, but for him to go through a throwing progression and feel good after playing catch and his first side, think that’s important."

He said Bautista threw 20 to 25 pitches.

Ryan Mountcastle has not played in the series against Tampa Bay. He is dealing with left shoulder discomfort that began on a swing in the first inning Wednesday against St. Louis. He was pinch-hit for in the third inning of that game.

The O’s could use his bat, which has been pretty hot since he returned from the injured list July 9 after he dealt with vertigo.

In 51 games since that time, Mountcastle has hit .327/.409/.497/.906 with seven homers and 28 RBIs. He is batting .269/.327/.453/.780 for the year.

“He’s feeling a little bit better,” Hyde said. “He tried to swing yesterday a little bit. I guess that didn’t go great. He’s going to swing in the cage right now, and hopefully he starts feeling better and can be an option for us off the bench.”

Hyde said Mountcastle is still not a candidate to go on the injured list.

Hyde had more praise today for rookie righty Grayson Rodriguez after his outing of eight scoreless innings last night.

"How aggressive he was in that seventh and eighth, that is what I was pumped about, honestly. He was getting to a point he hadn't been before. Was he going to be able to keep his fastball, his command, his composure? He did that," Hyde said.

The manager's press conference ended today with a bit of a bang. Asked a question about team chemistry and how big it has been for the 2023 Orioles, Hyde veered a bit toward another topic.

“I thought we were going to be a good team," he said. "I thought (based on) last year we were disrespected, honestly, going into this year. From where we were with projections. Smart people thinking they know what the records would be at the end of the year. Casinos, etc. I though we were underappreciated. Everybody thought we were going to have a setback this year. I wanted our players to be offended by that a little bit. The guys that were here last year. That wasn't accurate. 

"I thought we would be a good club. It was going to depend on health, and it still does. So hopefully we stay healthy and you never know what will happen from that standpoint.

"But I thought we were going to be better than everybody thought." 

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