Players react to losing Means and Wells for the season

The task at hand can’t change because of an elbow.

Teammates, manager Brandon Hyde and his staff collectively hurt for John Means and Tyler Wells, who will undergo surgery to repair their ulnar collateral ligaments. Two huge contributors to the club are gone, but the process stays the same.

Go out and do your job. Stay within yourself. Don’t feel pressure to replace the missing and make it worse.

“I just want them to do what they do,” manager Brandon Hyde said yesterday afternoon. “Give us the best starts that they can. I don’t want them to try to do anything extra. We’ve thrown the ball really well so far this year. Hopefully, we continue to do that.

“I want our guys to do what Albert Suárez did (Friday) night. Just give us as much as they can every time out.”

Players were prepared for the worst news and got it. Means and Wells would need their second elbow surgeries, requiring another long and lonely rehab process. Doing it once is one time too many.

The club hasn’t offered specifics on the procedures and whether both are classified as Tommy John. That information should come out afterward. I’ve heard some talk of Wells perhaps undergoing a UCL internal brace surgery that can be done with lesser tears and has a shorter recovery time. This might explain why he attempted to play catch before the Orioles shut him down again. But that isn’t confirmed and we’ll get details later.

Here are some clubhouse reactions gathered yesterday – the disappointment, support and expectations that the team will keep winning.

Danny Coulombe
“It’s pretty wild to see the number of Tommy Johns going on now. But yeah, specifically those guys, I feel for them. That’s brutal. It’s the second one for them. And especially John. He really didn’t get to really have any extended time pitching. You’ve got to feel bad for a guy like that. He worked so hard. Both of those guys worked really hard. We’re going to miss them this year.

“I talked to John. He’s doing good. He’s at peace with it. He knows it’s going to be a long road back but I think he’s ready for it. He wants to keep playing. So we’ll see what the future holds for him.”

Cole Irvin
“It sucks to lose great teammates. I’m sure they’ll be around, right? They’re still going to be around the clubhouse at some point after their procedures. But it sucks. They’re huge assets to our team with how well they’ve pitched, how big of an impact they had on our team last year. And even this year, as well. Means, I have so much respect for him for what he was trying to do and pitch through, now that we know the severity of what he’s had. A lot of us in here are praying for these guys, thinking about these guys, trying to communicate with them and let them know that we’ve got their back.

“It just sucks. They were a big part of our team. But our job doesn’t change. It’s kind of been a motto of our pitching staff here, picking guys up and being there for each other. That’s part of our job is to pick them up and keep pitching and do our job the way we’re supposed to. It’s unfortunate to lose such great guys for our ballclub.”

Corbin Burnes
“It’s tough. Injuries in this game are never fun, especially for pitchers. There aren’t too many injuries nowadays that are just kind of like, ‘Oh, two weeks you’ll be back.’ So I especially feel for those guys, and especially knowing they were both recovering from that surgery already. It’s a tough blow. I know a lot of guys who have gone through that recovery process and it’s not fun, it’s a lot of work. Usually you get the satisfaction at the end when you come back and you’re healthy, and those guys didn’t really get to do that, which, I feel for them and I think everyone in this clubhouse does. That’s not something you ever want to see happen, let alone to two guys on your team who mean a lot to the team. We’re definitely going to miss them.

“I’ve said it before, we can’t cover other people’s innings. You have to have someone step up and fill those spots. Myself, (Kyle) Bradish, Grayson (Rodriguez), we can’t cover more than what we can physically do. All we can do is do our part and the next guy up is going to do his part and fill the gaps as needed. We’ve shown that we’ve got some pretty good depth here and the guys that have jumped back in the rotation did well in the rotation early on and have done well throughout the year. We feel like we’re still in a pretty good spot even though we lost both of those guys.”

Anthony Santander
“That unfortunate for them and for us because we know what they’re capable of doing and help us win a lot of games. But you know, that’s something that’s out of their control. Unfortunately, it’s an injury. As a player, we never want it to happen. You wish they can stay strong mentally and just get healthy again, keep working hard and they can come back stronger next year. These things take a while. It’s unfortunate.

“We saw last year when Ced (Mullins) got hurt, we always have those types of players, they step up to do the job. Suárez did a great job (Friday). His command wasn’t there the first two innings but he threw pretty good, five innings and not have to use relievers except for four innings. That’s great. And I think we’re going to be good. We’re strong mentally as a team, we always stay together, we fight together, and we always stay in the game for 27 outs. I think that’s been the key for us.”

James McCann
“I think the ‘no duh’ answer is what that means for our team, right? You’re losing two guys that historically for this organization have covered meaningful innings, and guys that coming into the 2024 season we were expecting to cover meaningful innings. As a team it stinks. That’s a lot of innings you’re losing from two guys who are supposed to be key contributors.

“Putting that aside, I can’t help but feel for them. Tommy John is a long, rigorous rehab process, so now having to go through it twice, especially Meansie doing it twice in 2 ½ years, whatever it is, you feel for them. You don’t wish that upon anybody. So as much as it hurts for our team here, I hurt for them just as much knowing what lies ahead for them.”

Colton Cowser
“Both of those guys work extremely hard. I feel really bad for them. But I have all the faith in the world that they’re going to be able to come back again. They work extremely hard and it’s just one of those unfortunate situations. I just think it’s kind of a freak thing that that occurred. It’s weird timing with both of them.”

Kyle Bradish
"It's a tough blow. It's very unfortunate for those guys. I know we already miss them just being around the clubhouse. Tough, but hopefully they'll bounce back from those and we'll see them again."

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