Orioles’ Kyle Bradish to start season on IL with UCL sprain as Baltimore deals with multiple injuries

It’s the flip side of the best-shape-of-his-life declarations that herald every spring training: the surprise injury. And the Baltimore Orioles opened camp on Thursday with a barrage of bad news.

Kyle Bradish, who started the Orioles’ playoff opener last fall, has a sprained right ulnar collateral ligament and will start the season on the injured list. Another starter, John Means, is a month behind the rest of the rotation as he recovers from the left elbow soreness that kept him off the postseason roster.

Shortstop Gunnar Henderson is also taking things slowly with an oblique injury that will need another two to three weeks to heal. General manager Mike Elias, who made the announcements while meeting with reporters in Sarasota, Fla., called Henderson’s injury “mild” aggravation.

“He’s going to be a little late (to) game action because of that,” Elias added, “but don’t expect his opening day to be in danger as of this time.”

Bradish had a PRP injection and is scheduled to begin his throwing program Friday. That sounds encouraging, but any UCL injury is ominous, and since he’s already been ruled out for Opening Day — which is still in play for Means — there’s a hole in the rotation.

The former Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes, acquired in a trade with Milwaukee on Feb. 1, is the ace, and Dean Kremer and Grayson Rodriguez also have spots. The Orioles could plug their rotation with Tyler Wells, who made 20 starts last season, and Cole Irvin, who made 12 — or, of course, they could look externally.

“There’s obviously still people out there,” Elias said. “We’re remaining on the phones. I do want to be clear that we’re expecting both of those guys back, so I don’t want to go crazy ringing the alarm bells there.”

The Orioles have been extremely conservative with their spending, with only one player — injured closer Felix Bautista — signed for 2025. With the Angelos family in the process of selling the team for $1.725 billion to a group led by billionaire David Rubenstein, there’s plenty of money to afford an upgrade.

The two best available starters in free agency are 31-year-old lefties Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery. Snell won the National League Cy Young Award last season for San Diego and also won the American League award for Tampa Bay in 2018. Montgomery helped Texas win the World Series by going 3-1 with a 2.90 earned run average in the postseason.

Snell and Montgomery are both represented by Scott Boras, who often waits until spring training for unexpected forces to move the free-agent market in his client’s favor.

Injuries to starting pitchers on the team with the A.L.’s best record last season would seem to qualify.

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(Photo: Greg Fiume / Getty Images)

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