Orioles pitcher John Means suffers setback during recovery, won’t be ready in July

Orioles pitcher John Means recently suffered a setback that will delay his return from elbow surgery, executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said Friday.

Means, the Orioles’ opening day starter in 2021 and 2022, strained the teres major muscle in the scapula area of his upper back while doing a nonthrowing-related drill at the team’s complex in Florida.

Elias said the injury means the left-hander won’t be able to return in July, the month the team previously set as a possible return for Means. It’s unclear how long the muscle strain will set back Means as he recovers from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, but Elias said the hope is that the 30-year-old will return in 2023.

“Unfortunately, he was doing some activation drills down in Florida and strained a muscle kind of in the scapular region of his upper back,” Elias said. “It’s a muscle injury, it’s not his shoulder capsule, it not a throwing injury, he’s just got a strained muscle in the scapula.

“This is basically just going to add some time to his recovery, or to his return back to the Orioles. How long exactly, I don’t know. We’re still very much hoping on getting him back this season, but this is obviously going to slow things down and tack on some time before we actually see him out pitching games.”

Before the setback, Elias said Means was “flying along” as he recovered from the torn ulnar collateral ligament he suffered last April. Elias added that muscle strain isn’t related to previous shoulder injuries Means has sustained in the past.

Tate staying on injured list

Means wasn’t the only rehabbing pitcher to recently have a setback. Reliever Dillon Tate, who was recovering from a forearm strain, is remaining on the injured list with a stress reaction in his elbow, Elias said. His minor league rehabilitation assignment ended Wednesday because of MLB’s 30-day limit on such stints.

Elias said Tate is “doing pretty well in the big picture” and that the stress reaction is separate from the flexor strain in his forearm. In 8 1/3 innings during his minor league rehab stint, Tate allowed 19 hits and had a 14.04 ERA.

This story will be updated.

Baltimore Sun reporter Hayes Gardner contributed to this article.


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