O's Kyle Bradish excited to begin his minor league rehab assignment

After his latest bullpen session – which came Saturday at Camden Yards – Orioles right-hander Kyle Bradish is ready to begin what is essentially his spring training.

He'll pitch his first minor league rehab game this week, perhaps just an inning or two as he continues his comeback and rehab from a UCL sprain which required a plasma-rich platelet injection in January.

“Yeah I’m excited. It will be nice to face some other jerseys,” Bradish said this morning in the Baltimore clubhouse.

With lefty John Means three outings into his rehab assignment and now Bradish ready to start his, the O’s have some real quality pitching reinforcements on the way.  

“It will be nice. Kind of treating this as my spring training," Bradish said. "Just working out some different mechanical things, but it will be nice to get in a game setting." 

And the sight of his pitching in a game, even on rehab, will be welcome for the Orioles. Last year Bradish broke out with a great season, going 12-7 with a 2.83 ERA over 30 starts. After the year he finished fourth in the American League Cy Young voting.

What will be the challenges of joining the team after the season has started?

“Think the only real challenge is making sure you’re ready when you come in. Because these games matter,” said Bradish, who told reporters his velocity readings are normal right now.

But waiting for the rehab process to play out is not normal. Not for a pitcher who would have made three regular-season starts by now.

“Just, I mean, the day-by-day, just knowing that it’s a long process and you are not going to have overnight fixes for anything (is a challenge)," he said. "Not going to feel 100 percent every day, but luckily I haven’t had any setbacks. It's been a pretty positive one."

Fuller on the hitters: Orioles co-hitting coach Ryan Fuller met with reporters in the clubhouse this morning and was asked about outfielder Austin Hays. Hays, not starting today, is batting .086 at 3-for-35, but his bloop single to right yesterday in the third inning snapped an 0-for-26.

"It's early in the year. He's done really good work in the cage, getting more at-bats and then making sure we're ready for those matchups when he gets them," Fuller said. "Right now it's facing lefties. He took good swings yesterday, got a knock, so now it's going to start to build. But, doing really good work and if this was in the middle of July we would say 'He's good, he's put up really good numbers so far.' Just, at the beginning of the year we'll work through it."

Hays had an abbreviated spring training due to a stomach virus and also missed some of the Pittsburgh series with an illness. Has losing out on some those at-bats been a factor in Hays' poor start?

"Think that is always part of it too, gaining the confidence," said Fuller. "But he puts in the work and the more he sees up here, the more comfortable he gets, the better he'll be. When you are in a slump you can point to one thing or another, but the work is always consistent. So we say consistent work will give you consistent results, and it's going to come for him."

Fuller was asked about Jackson Holliday's 0-for-11 start.

"Normal stuff for a 20-year-old. We're not worried at all," he said. "He's had all the cameras in his face and a lot of stuff going on the first couple of days. We can't wait to just have him be in a normal routine. Be one of the guys and come here and not feel like he has to get a hit today. Just let his process take over and hopefully that initial knock will take a little steam away and he'll be ready to roll."

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