Coulombe on elbow soreness: "I think we're pretty optimistic about it"

The Orioles haven’t received the final results on the imaging and additional testing on Danny Coulombe’s left elbow. However, they aren't reaching for the proverbial panic button.

Coulombe went on the injured list yesterday, a surprising development following his two perfect innings Saturday at Tropicana Field.

“After my last outing, just had some residual soreness when I played catch two days after that. We’re still gathering information on it,” he said this afternoon while surrounded by media at his locker.

“I think we’re pretty optimistic about it.”

Coulombe underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011 as a junior at Texas Tech. He said he’s never experienced this type of discomfort, which actually is a positive sign given his familiarity with ligament reconstruction.

“I haven’t had soreness like this all season, so this was something new,” he said. “I’ve never had in the area that it’s sore, never anything in that area.”

Elbow injuries are becoming more prevalent – teammates John Means and Tyler Wells are lost for the season with ulnar collateral ligament damage – and an alarm sounded in Coulombe’s head. It's a natural instinct.

“Yeah, I mean, we’re human beings,” he said. “Obviously, there’s always a fear element in that. Like I said, though, we’re pretty optimistic about it, that it’s not the one you guys are thinking about.”

Told that Coulombe didn’t sound worried, manager Brandon Hyde said, “We’re all very hopeful. But we’re waiting to get more information there.”

The bullpen has allowed only two runs in the last 40 2/3 innings and just one unearned run in the last nine games totaling 25 2/3. The 3.24 ERA for the season ranks third in the American League and fourth in the majors.

Coulombe said he’s “very confident” that the unit will maintain its effectiveness while he’s on the injured list.

“The two other lefties, (Keegan) Akin and Cionel (Pérez) are so talented and they’re going to be able to ride the ship,” he said. “They’re fantastic.”

Said Hyde: "I think they're just kind of feeding off each other a little bit. I think we're talented down there, too. We've got guys that have different strengths and try to match up as well as we possibly can."

Bryan Baker is waiting to make his 2024 debut after appearing in 66 and 46 games with the Orioles over the past two seasons. He was on the Division Series roster, but didn’t break camp with the team after allowing one earned run (two total) in seven innings, walking five batters and striking out eight.

“You’ve got to realize it’s 160-plus games, it’s a long year, so I’m sure at times down there it seems longer than it really is,” he said. “Just knowing that you’ve got a lot of time to, number one, stay healthy, making sure you’re doing the right things between the outings to make sure you can keep doing it. And just knowing there’s a bunch of time to get better.

“It’s usually that way for me. Maybe I’m just a Florida boy at heart but usually the cold weather’s tough on me, and then I kind of find things out as they go. And sure enough, we get to summer months and I’m feeling back to the way I should feel.”

Baker registered a 6.55 ERA and 1.455 WHIP with five saves in 23 games with Triple-A Norfolk, walking 13 batters and striking out 30 in 22 innings. He hadn’t allowed a run in five consecutive appearances and seven of eight.

“It was kind of a good step, just kind of see where I was at and kind of make a few adjustments and try to get better,” he said of his time in the minors. “It’s really what you try to do every day, just show up and try to get better. Had a great time. Nothing really specific in terms of tweaks or anything. Mainly attacking the zone and just finding my locations with certain things. It’s very easy to learn from your mistakes. You find out after one pitch a lot of times. So finding where not to throw it and kind of working on locations mainly.

"Overall just throwing strikes and making sure I’m staying ahead. You could say that to anybody at any level in baseball. It’s kind of a blanket term, but that’s really what it is.”

Baker really focused on hitting his spots with his fastball.

“Being wary of where the hitters’ hot zones are and where they’re not,” he said. “Avoiding the hot ones and throwing to the zones where I know I’m going to have success with my fastball. From there, just mixing speeds. These guys at whatever level can hit fastballs if they know it’s coming. So mixing speeds and going to the right locations with the fastball when I do throw it.”

Outfielder Kyle Stowers isn’t in the lineup and hasn’t played since Saturday due to soreness in his right wrist, but he’s available tonight.

“I’m feeling good,” he said.

“A play in Toronto, just jammed it in the turf on that sliding play. But feeling good.”

For the Braves

Michael Harris II CF
Ozzie Albies 2B
Marcell Ozuna DH
Matt Olson 1B
Austin Riley 3B
Adam Duvall LF
Sean Murphy C
Brian Anderson RF
Orlando Arcia SS

Spencer Schwellenbach RHP

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