If the Baltimore Orioles are going to win the American League East and go on a deep postseason run, they’ll likely have to do it without their star closer, Félix Bautista.
Bautista left Friday’s win over the Colorado Rockies with two outs in the ninth inning. On Saturday, we learned the extent of the injury.
Orioles announcer Melanie Newman reported on Saturday that Bautista is headed to the injured list with “‘some degree of injury’ to his UCL.”
Félix Bautista has “some degree of injury” to his UCL. Still unsure at this time but will go to the IL.
D.L. Hall recalled.
— Melanie Newman (@MelanieLynneN) August 26, 2023
In speaking about the injury, general manager Mike Elias was asked about a potential return in 2023. While Elias didn’t offer a specific timetable, his response was far from optimistic.
Asked if Félix Bautista could return this season, Mike Elias responded, “I think anyone can go on Google and find the spectrum of outcomes or possibilities that [a UCL injury] might entail.”
The UCL is, of course, the ligament torn to prompt pitchers to have Tommy John surgery.
— Nathan Ruiz (@NathanSRuiz) August 26, 2023
Bautista is in the midst of a dominant season. In 56 appearances, he’s posted a 1.48 ERA, 0.918 WHIP, has struck out 16.2 hitters per nine innings pitched and locked down 33 saves.
The MLB world lamented the All-Star closer’s injury.
Never easy to lose the best closer in baseball.The O’s have overachieved all year, now the back end of the pen needs to step up.Fully capable of doing that. Last 34 games going to be interesting.
— Jim Palmer (@Jim22Palmer) August 26, 2023
The Bautista injury reminds me of the Machado injury in 2014 & it kills me.
Going to the playoffs with a healthy team & losing would obviously be a bummer but going to the playoffs & losing without arguably the Orioles MVP and having to live with the “what if’s”?
— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) August 26, 2023
Félix Bautista this season:
One of the greatest seasons we have seen from a closer it’s sad his season had to end like this🥲
Rest up big fella and get healthy the whole baseball world is praying for you🙏 pic.twitter.com/OVuuF5UyKc
— 𝙆𝙣𝘽 (@kazknowsball) August 26, 2023
Retweet if you are willing to give your entire elbow to Félix Bautista
— Locked On Orioles (@LockedOnOrioles) August 26, 2023
Even the best case scenario Félix Bautista is (likely) done for the year.
1. Conservative (PRP, stem cell)
2. Internal Brace surgery
3. Tommy John surgery
— Jesse Morse, MD (@DrJesseMorse) August 26, 2023
In addition to being one of baseball’s best closers, Bautista has also been one of the most used. He has 61 innings pitched in those 56 appearances. Of MLB’s top-10 save leaders, only Bautista and David Bednar have more innings pitched than appearances.
The Orioles have been one of baseball’s best teams. Very little has gone wrong for them this season, at least on the field. Entering Saturday’s action, Baltimore’s 80-48 record is the best in not just the American League East, but the entire American League.