Baltimore Orioles: Nate Karns Returns (Sort Of), Stewart exits, And More Injury News

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 03: Nate Karns #36 of the Baltimore Orioles delivers a pitch in the first inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on April 3, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 03: Nate Karns #36 of the Baltimore Orioles delivers a pitch in the first inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on April 3, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

We’re only one day into the second half of the season, yet injuries have already crept in. Plus, updates on a few previously injured players.

There really are no words to describe last night’s game between the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays. The excitement surrounding the return of baseball quickly faded after Dylan Bundy and the O’s allowed seven runs in the top of the first inning, ultimately ending in a 16-4 thrashing by the Rays.

While the second half of the season is sure to follow the same path as the first half of the season, couldn’t we have had just one night to ease back into the dog days of summer; especially after watching the lone Orioles’ All-Star representative ride the pine in this week’s All-Star game?

After Bundy’s first inning performance last night, it was reported by MASN’s Roch Kubatko that Bundy disclosed a knee injury to manager Brandon Hyde and was removed from the game for evaluation. Per Kubatko, Bundy will go through more tests today to gain a better understanding of the extent of the injury.

An update since publication, courtesy of Kubatko. 

The Orioles’ starter went into the All-Star break on the heels of a 6.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 6 K performance against Toronto as he continues to re-establish himself. We’re no doctors here, so I won’t speculate, but stay tuned for updates on Bundy’s knee situation. A trip to the injured list is less than ideal for Baltimore in more than one way. Pitching is already paper-thin and any team who may have been remotely interested in him, may shy away.

Baltimore Orioles injury news from down on the farm.

There are also a few notable injury concerns to be aware of down on the farm. First was the return of starting pitcher Nate Karns. Remember how the Orioles signed him in the offseason to eat innings and resurrect his career after not pitching for essentially two years?

Karns opened game one of a doubleheader for the Single-A Frederick Keys last night. He lasted just two-thirds of an inning, giving up three earned runs on two hits and three walks (no strikeouts). Karns is on a rehab assignment after being placed on the 60-day IL with a forearm strain.

He attempted to come back from the injury in late-April, giving up five runs on four hits and three walks in 1.1 innings across two outings with the Norfolk Tides and Bowie Baysox. I was at his outing with the Tides and the veteran right-hander struggled to touch 88 on the radar gun. It’s been an unfortunate season for Karns and his comeback tour, unfortunately, don’t expect his tour to make any stops in Baltimore this season.

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Also rehabbing his way back to the majors is outfielder DJ Stewart. Last night with the Norfolk Tides, Stewart fouled a ball off his foot in the top of the fifth inning, dropping to the ground in pain. He was helped off the field, clearly frustrated and in pain, and removed from the contest. No updates have been provided as of Saturday morning, but based on Stewart’s reaction in last night’s game, let’s just hope it isn’t a serious setback.

Stewart was swinging a hot bat in Triple-A before earning his call-up to the big leagues and has the perfect opportunity to showcase his talents with the Orioles this season, if he can remain healthy and stay on the field.

How about we end this on a positive note? In that same Norfolk Tides’ game, outfielder Austin Hays returned from his rehab assignment in grand fashion. A hamstring injury put Hays back on the Injured List before the All-Star break, which appears to be fully healed.

In his first game back on Thursday, Hays scored from first on a walk and went 1-4 with an RBI. In his second game back, Hays wanted to make sure we all knew his bat still has electricity in it. Hays finished Friday’s contest 3-5 with a home run, two doubles, five runs driven in, and three runs scored.

If Hays can stay healthy, which has been a big if lately, he could be an intriguing option to plug the massive hole in center field at Camden Yards. Keon Broxton provides nothing to the roster except for speed, which he can’t utilize when he can’t get on base, and Cedric Mullins hasn’t been able to hit a baseball in Triple-A after also failing to hit a baseball at the major league level.

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Well wishes to Bundy and Stewart as they hopefully return to action quickly and a welcome back to Austin Hays!