Baltimore Orioles: John Means Possibly Sidelined for Opening Day

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 22: John Means #67 of the Baltimore Orioles in congratulated for his performance in the seventh inning during a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 22, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 22: John Means #67 of the Baltimore Orioles in congratulated for his performance in the seventh inning during a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 22, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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With the Baltimore Orioles Opening Day rapidly approaching on Friday, July 24 in Boston against the Red Sox, the question who will take the mound is unanswered.

Originally, the Baltimore Orioles joyfully announced that the starter would be 2019’s rookie sensation John Means.

But, the team is now hesitating to keep that promise as the team is reporting that he has some arm soreness. According to Mike Elias during an interview in Monday’s game, the soreness is due to use, not an injury.

Elias did confirm that after giving Means some rest by skipping a start that he is “feeling good right now.”

The Orioles were one of the earliest to announce their starters, but since then, the rest of the MLB seems to know who is toeing the bump. The Red Sox are expecting to put Nathan Eovaldi, who like Means, would have his first Opening Day start. Justin Verlander of the Astros is expected to have his 12th Opening Day start. Mike Mussina and Jim Palmer have 12 Opening Day starts between them with six apiece. Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken have the most appearances on the Orioles Opening Day rosters, with 20 each. Robinson’s were all at third, while Ripken had 6 at third and 14 at short.

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Back to Opening Day 2020…

If Means is unable to make the start on Friday, the Orioles do have a few other pitchers at their disposal. And Alex Cobb is one of them. One of the few Orioles veterans in 2020, Cobb sat out most of 2019 after needing surgery to fix a hip issue. Fans were unsure of what he could do, and he proved in four innings against the Nationals that he was back.

Cobb put up a good show against the reigning World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg. Cobb threw four innings and gave up two hits and two runs, both scored off of a Howie Kemp home run with Juan Soto on base. He struck out five and walked two. After all that time away from the mound and opposing batters, that’s a line any team would be happy to have.

Cobb was set to start on Opening Day in 2019, but a groin injury forced the O’s to put Andrew Cashner there instead. It would not be unheard of for a pitcher to start after only a few days rest, especially since he only threw 56 pitches on Monday evening.

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Starting Means would mean more to the team and the fans. He’s been a part of the organization since the O’s drafted him in 2014, and he’s worked his way up to the position of Opening Day starter. Hopefully, he’ll be ready for the honor and make his team and the fans proud.