Hunter Harvey is slated to begin another throwing program in December after being shut down again with soreness in his right elbow.
The latest MRI last month in Baltimore didn’t reveal any structural damage, the diagnosis being a mild case of tendinitis, and he’s feeling good again. He was prescribed rest after the Orioles shut him down Sept. 18 from throwing on flat ground at the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota.
The most recent interruption ruined plans to have Harvey pitch for the Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League and attempt to build up his innings. He can’t be projected to pitch next April above the Double-A level after making only nine starts with Bowie and registering a 5.57 ERA and 1.392 WHIP in 32 1/3 innings.
The reset button is getting a workout, but Harvey is only 23 and the Orioles are determined to keep him healthy, allow him to reach his vast potential and continually slot him at or near the top of their rotation.
The 22nd overall pick in the 2013 draft, Harvey has been unable to dodge bad luck, even while avoiding a line drive headed toward him in the Baysox dugout. He was placed on the seven-day disabled list after a June 1 start against Trenton due to a shoulder injury termed “posterior shoulder instability.”
Right forearm stiffness caused Harvey to be shut down earlier this summer before the Orioles cleared him on Aug. 6 to get back on his throwing program. He underwent another MRI on Aug. 22 after the elbow flared up and again. No structural damage was detected.
Harvey has worked himself back from Tommy John surgery, and he’s hoping that the latest setback will be the final one. The program will start with flat-ground sessions and gradually get him atop a mound leading into spring training.
I don’t know whether Harvey will throw at minicamp in January because it may not exist with a new manager on the scene. It was Buck Showalter’s baby, his idea to gather in the Sarasota heat instead of having pitchers throw in Baltimore. We’ll find out later if the Orioles intend to keep it going.
While I don’t get a vote, it makes sense to me that a new pitching coach and bullpen coach - assuming the coaching staff undergoes major changes - would want to watch certain guys throw and begin the bonding process. The media also would benefit from it prior to the start of spring training.
Showalter always found something at the complex that could be improved or added, and he’d challenge the media to find it.
New mounds and vines to cover the fences around them. Platforms built beyond the outfield fence on the stadium field and behind the backstop on the Camden Yards-replica field. Improvements in the turf. A bunting station. New coats of paint and awnings on the baseball operations center. Trees cleared by the pond. Netting put up to keep baseballs from being lost during batting practice and B games. Rocks moved to make it easier for mowers to round the corners.
Showalter never got his scoreboard.
Among the many curiosities is how much camp is going to change with a new manager. Whether it’s the daily schedule, the workouts, media access.
Photo Day was like a root canal for Showalter. The public relations staff kept tweaking it, finally putting everyone inside Ed Smith Stadium rather than having Showalter, his coaches and players move from station to station, including the setup in the media workroom.
We noticed that change immediately. It wasn’t as subtle as moving a few rocks.