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John Means, Tyler Wells To Have UCL Surgery

Orioles general manager Mike Elias informed the media today that both are lefties John Kusho and the right hand Tyler Wells he will have elbow surgery. Each player will undergo ulnar collateral ligament repair, although it is not known if he will undergo full Tommy John surgery or another internal brace. In any case, both players will now miss the rest of the season. Roch Kubatko of was among those to relay the news to X.

It's doubly unfortunate for the depth of Baltimore's rotation. The news on Means is very sad as he recently returned from a long career Tommy John. He went under the knife in April of 2022, missing most of that season and the following season as well.

He returned to the mound in late 2023 but experienced new elbow pain. He was left off the team's playoff roster last year and the O's then tried to move him back here in 2024. He started the season on the injured list and was reinstated in early May, making four starts before returning. in IL with difficulty of left arm.

Now Means is set for yet another long renewal, which will include the remainder of this season and a good chunk of 2025 as well. From 2019 to 2021, he was one of the few bright spots for the club during the rebuilding period. He threw 345 1/3 innings in those three years, one of which was shortened by the flu, with a 3.73 ERA. But because of elbow issues, he's thrown just 52 1/3 innings over the past three seasons and that number won't increase now.

In addition to giving Means another big hurdle to overcome, this surgery has the potential to end his tenure with the Orioles. He will exceed six years of major league service at the end of the season and is set to be offered free agency this coming winter. Meanwhile, he'll be entering his age-32 season with an uncertain health outlook after all of the aforementioned work. Maybe he and the Orioles will work out a new contract to cap his rehab period, if both sides are interested, but he might consider getting healthy again before proving himself to other clubs.

Wells, 29, went on the disabled list in mid-April with elbow inflammation. It seems that the club did not find much success in any of the non-surgical methods they had been testing for the past six weeks and finally decided that surgery was absolutely necessary.

The righty has a 4.06 ERA with the O's since the start of 2021, coming both out of the rotation and out of the bullpen. He reached arbitration in the most recent season as a Super Two player and made $1.9625MM this year. He will have a chance to be successful in solving problems again this winter but will not be able to get a raise after missing a lot of the current campaign. It's also possible the O's decided not to tender Wells, given his upcoming re-election, though he is controllable in 2027 and still has an option.

For the club, this will significantly weaken its rotation depth for the rest of the year. They currently have the first mix that includes Corbin Burns, Kyle Bradish, Grayson Rodriguez, Cole Irvin again Albert Suárezwhich is a strong group but with question marks.

Bradish was diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in February. He has been able to return to the team and has played well in the few games he has started, though so did Means before his elbow problems returned. Suárez has a 1.53 ERA this year but it's his first MLB season since 2017. Irvin has a 2.84 ERA but a low 17.6% strikeout rate.

Even outside of Means and Wells, reinforcements can come from within. Dean Kremer he is on the injured list but is not expected to be out very long. Hopes Kade Povich again Chayce McDermott both pitched well in Triple-A this year.

The club is 35-19 and comfortably in the playoffs. Maybe they'll use the coming weeks and months to evaluate everyone on that team and see how things look in July, but it also seems fair to expect the O's will explore the trade market to start pitching this summer.

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