Orioles reliever Dillon Tate said this morning that he’ll probably need five or six appearances on his injury rehab assignment before he’s ready to be activated and make his 2023 debut.
Tate is joining high Single-A Aberdeen on Tuesday in Wilmington, Delaware, the newest test to determine whether he’s fully recovered from the right elbow flexor strain that ruined his plans to pitch in the World Baseball Classic and be introduced at Fenway Park on Opening Day.
“Physically, I’m basically there, and it will be a few more days before I’m back,” he said. “I’m excited, ready to go.”
Tate will be used on back-to-back days toward the end of his assignment as a final hurdle to leaving the injured list.
“See where things stack up,” he said, “and after that, be ready to go.”
The Orioles lost one of their most important relievers, a high-leverage weapon who posted a career-low 3.05 ERA in 67 appearances. The discomfort in his elbow/forearm area first surfaced in November, and executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias revealed the injury to the media at the beginning of spring training.
Elias confirmed that Tate would go on the injured list and miss the first month of the season, with the possibility of being out until mid-to-late May.
Tate doesn’t think he’s necessarily ahead of schedule.
“I’m right on time, right where I need to be,” he said.
“It’s tedious, it’s a lot of work, a lot of similar things each day, but the work just builds up slowly over time, so I’m here now and ready to go.”
Without Tate and Mychal Givens, who’s recovering from a knee injury and approaching his own rehab assignment this week, the Orioles bullpen has registered a 3.21 ERA that ranks seventh in the majors and keyed the team’s rise to second place in the American League East.
“It’s been great,” Tate said. “It’s encouraging to see because I’m still a part of this team and I’m always going to want this team to do well. With or without me, the wheels are going to continue to turn, so once it’s time for me to come back, I just want to be an addition to what the guys have already done and what they’re continuing to do.”
The days and weeks away from major league games have enabled Tate to concentrate on other aspects of his game besides his recovery.
“It’s giving me some time to work on my motion and clean up some things that needed attention,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting back out there and competing, and seeing what the adjustments have done for me.”
Ramón Urías is batting cleanup today for the ninth time in his career. He had a three-run double last night but was ejected by plate umpire Vic Carapazza in the fifth inning after disputing a called third strike and tossing his helmet and bat.
“I just told him that it wasn’t a strike, and he told me that I had like an equipment violation, and I just told him again, 'that was not a strike,'” he said this morning. “Exactly with those words. And he threw me out of the game.”
Urías received his first career ejection, and the third by the Orioles this season, joining manager Brandon Hyde and center fielder Cedric Mullins. He’s one of the quietest players on the team, rarely exhibiting public displays of emotion, which makes his ouster so shocking.
Teammates supported him in the dugout rather than seizing an opportunity to tease him about it.
“They agreed that that was a bad call from the umpire last night,” he said. “They were surprised, too, that I was thrown out that quickly.”