Tyler Wells is coming to grips with the idea that his first season as a starting pitcher is over, that he can’t offer more support for a final playoff push beyond encouraging teammates.
It isn’t easy.
The Orioles placed Wells on the 15-day injured list last week with right shoulder inflammation. He’s eligible to return on Oct. 5 for the final game of the season, but he won’t pitch again until spring training.
“It was a little sore after my last start, and then throwing in the bullpen it was still sore, so that’s when I mentioned it to the pitching coaches and all them,” he said.
“Obviously, it’s extremely disappointing. Honestly, I’m kind of heartbroken about it, given the fact that we’re chasing a wild card spot and I want to be able to contribute and continue to help the team. But obviously it just wasn’t in the books this year.”
Wells missed six weeks with an oblique strain and made three starts before going back on the IL with a separate issue, the exact same one that shut him down last September.
“If I didn’t feel good enough to come back, then I wouldn’t have, and so I felt good,” he said. “Really the only time this soreness came about was after the last start.”
Wells allowed five runs and four hits in three innings, walking three batters, in Monday’s start against the Tigers. His move to the rotation after being a Rule 5 closer in 2021 produced a 4.25 ERA and 1.138 WHIP in 23 games.
The Orioles got Wells up to 103 2/3 innings with some careful and creative management.
“I would say that I built a really good foundation for next year,” he said. “I think that as I continue to look at it, I’m pitching over 100 innings this year, and that was a big goal for me this year, especially coming back as a starter. I feel good about that.
“I’m happy with the way I threw most of this year and I think it’s a good building block for next year, and I’m hoping that that continues to be the trend. And I’m hoping next year I’m able to continue to go deep into games and continue to put up some good innings and continue to put up good numbers.”
Manager Brandon Hyde said he’s encouraged by the state of the rotation heading into 2023, taking into account how Wells will be healthy and Kyle Bradish and Dean Kremer are finishing strong.
“I think it’s very promising,” he said. “It’s been a pleasure watching young pitchers. It makes you real excited about the future, the ability these guys have. There’s still room for improvement and they’re having great years. Fun to watch the progress they’ve made and really excited about them going forward next year.”
Infielder Ramón Urías is day-to-day with the same neck spasms that forced him to be scratched from Friday’s lineup. He came out of last night’s game after reaching base for a second time.
“He’s feeling a little bit better today,” Hyde said.
“He felt it actually on contact when he swung the bat with the base hit. Feeling a little bit better today. Hopefully, he’s OK in a day or two.”
Félix Bautista threw 33 pitches last night in 1 1/3 innings while charged with four runs and taking the loss. His availability for today is doubtful and perhaps for the next few games, though Hyde won’t broadcast it to the opponent.
“He had thrown one time in six days, threw six pitches in six days,” Hyde said. “He’ thrown a lot this year. We’ll just check in with him every day and see how he’s doing.”
Grayson Rodriguez is scheduled to start for Triple-A Norfolk on Monday.
The Red Sox are listing Nick Pivetta for Thursday afternoon. The spot was TBA.
For the Astros
José Altuve 2B
Aledmys Díaz SS
Yordan Álvarez DH
Alex Bregman 3B
Kyle Tucker RF
Yuli Gurriel 1B
Christian Vázquez C
Chas McCormick CF
Mauricio Dubón LF
Cristian Javier RHP