Orioles pregame notes on Wells' elbow injury, bench players playing, and Hyde's talk with Holliday

KANSAS CITY – Tyler Wells sounded confident this afternoon that his stay on the injured list will be brief.

Exactly how brief is the question.

Wells remains shut down with inflammation in his right elbow. An MRI didn’t show any structural damage, which is the best news.

“I feel really good,” he said. “I take pride in three things, and that’s being a great teammate, my work ethic and being a good pitcher. Right now, I’m really working hard with the medical staff, with the strength and conditioning staff, and really just make sure my body’s in a good place, that we’re doing a lot of hard work. And after this stint, I come back better than what I was before.”

Wells said the club consulted “multiple doctors” in the organization.

“We’ve got a great medical staff,” he said. “What they’ve been saying, I’ve been trusting, and so far so good.”

The issue first surfaced after his April 6 start at PNC Park, when Wells allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings and threw 87 pitches. Wells noticed it again on April 12 against the Brewers, when he threw 90 pitches in four innings and allowed four runs and six hits.

“It didn’t bounce back quite as well as I’d like after Pittsburgh,” he said. “Then the last start, just kind of kept creeping in, so I went ahead and I said something. We just took the necessary precaution to kind of get ahead of it.”

Asked whether the elbow influenced his results, Wells replied, “I’m not going to use that as an excuse.”

A throwing progression hasn’t been mapped out. There’s nothing decided with flat ground or bullpen sessions, which makes it harder to gauge how Wells is feeling.

“I don’t really know,” he said. “I haven’t played catch yet. We’re sorting out those details right now.”

It’s also too soon to know whether Wells would go out on a rehab assignment or if he’d be ready at or near his eligible return date. The Orioles are operating only on the positive test results.

“I don’t know the timeline on it,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “I think we’ll have to wait and see until he starts his catch play and stuff like that, but pretty confident about it. It’s just some inflammation in the soft tissue part of the elbow. He’s just getting treatment right now, but I think catch-play will happen pretty soon and we’ll go from there. But I don’t think it’s going to be too long.”

Wells has reached the maturity stage in his career where he knew it would be unwise to hide the discomfort from the team and try to pitch through it.

“There’s always learning processes in it and it’s certainly one of them,” he said. “It’s early in the year right now and I’d rather be healthy for the part that’s most important, whenever we’re trying to push for a playoff run. So right now, it’s pretty easy to be smart about it and have open communication with the staff. That’s exactly what we talked about.

“It was a big growing moment for me and I’m really thankful for them.”

Albert Suárez had his contract selected Wednesday, took Wells’ turn in the rotation and tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings. He’ll start again next week in Anaheim.

“I gave him a big hug. I was happy for him,” Wells said.

“Obviously, his journey is very unique, and being able to see him go out there and dominate, we saw him do it during spring training and he’s a very capable starter. I was really happy for him.”

* Tonight’s lineup enabled Hyde to remove Austin Hays, Ramón Urías Jorge Mateo from the bench, though the trio must face Royals ace Cole Ragans, who shut out the Orioles on one hit over 6 1/3 innings on April 3.

“It’s been kind of tough,” Hyde said. “I give all of them a lot of credit for how they’ve handled everything, how they’ve been team-first type of guys. For Austin, he wasn’t expecting not to be in the lineup every day at this point in the season definitely, and talked to him a lot about it. How he’s handled this says a lot about him and his character. They’re all getting a start tonight. It’s not an easy landing spot I’m giving them, either. Cole Ragan’s on the mound. But hopefully we have good at-bats tonight.”

* Hyde said he spoke to Jackson Holliday after last night’s game, and after the rookie went hitless in two at-bats to leave him 1-for-27 with 15 strikeouts. Words of encouragement, and a way to check on his confidence level.

“You’re talking about somebody who’s never failed before," Hyde said. "It’s a tough place to. I don’t think anybody, except for the people that are down here in uni, understands how hard this is. To be 20-years-old and be one year in the minor leagues and to be here says a lot about him, how talented he is.

"It's a very short window and he's going to go through struggles, and that's part of being a professional baseball player. How you deal with it, adversity, tough at-bats. I think he's handling it really, really well."


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