Means: “I just want to win the World Series"

BOSTON – John Means smiled and confirmed to the local media this morning that, yes, he was available to talk. He moved back toward his locker and waited. Recorders and a television camera were pointed at him. And then, he confirmed how he’s feeling and left the rest of the updates to the club.

Means stayed in his lane while standing inside the clubhouse.

“All I know is I threw a bullpen yesterday, felt really good,” he said. “Other than that, I’m not really sure what the next step is.”

The expectation is for Means to return from the 60-day injured list and make a start in the Cardinals series at Camden Yards. Dean Kremer is listed for Monday night, with Means likely to follow Tuesday. But the Orioles aren’t listing their starters beyond Kremer.

Means threw a bullpen session on Saturday and apparently has passed the tests that determine whether he’s ready to join the active roster for the first time since April 2022. He’s happy with his stuff, how his ball is moving and the reactions to it.

“I feel really good,” he said. “Body feels good, pitches feel good, so I’m ready to go.”

Where he lands isn’t for public consumption.

Asked whether there have been any discussions pertaining to his role as a starter or reliever, Means said, “Not at all.”

“Just kind of here, threw a bullpen, feel good,” he said.

Means also said he doesn’t have a preference. A long journey back from Tommy John surgery makes him grateful just to be wearing the uniform again and throwing a baseball.

“I just want to win the World Series, to be honest with you,” he said.

The Orioles are gaining an experienced pitcher with a track record as they try to win the division and make a deep run into the playoffs. He’s expected to assist in the push with his reconstructed elbow.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Means said. “This is what we dreamed about for a while, so I’m glad to finally feel part of it.”

The detachment wasn’t as severe for Means because he stayed close to the team except for his rehab work Sarasota. He kept his locker at Camden Yards and made some road trips.

“These guys are great in here,” he said. “This clubhouse is unbelievable, so just to be around and kind of feel the energy was important for me.

“Just speaks to the culture they’ve created here. Just such a great job that everybody’s done from top to bottom. It’s pretty cool to see.”

Means was the Opening Day starter in 2021 and 2022. He was scratched from the 2020 assignment due to a tired arm.

He was their ace, owner of a no-hitter and an All-Star berth. Six appearances on an injury rehab assignment have led to his much-anticipated return.

Any nerves? More like anticipation.

“I’ve been waiting a while for this,” he said, “so just looking forward to whenever that opportunity is, I take advantage of it.”

Means would settle for a tidy five- or six-inning appearance, just to see where the arm is.

“It all feels really good,” he said. “Just really excited to compete again.”

* Major League Baseball is listing the Orioles’ magic number for clinching a playoff berth at five. It was six after last night’s 13-12 win.

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