Baltimore Orioles fans received a piece of good news early Monday afternoon via Twitter when starting pitcher John Means shared an encouraging update on his rehabilitation following Tommy John surgery:
The former All Star had his 2022 cruelly cut short after just two starts and had the procedure to repair his elbow in late April, missing the rest of what was a reinvigorating season for the Orioles and fans alike. The results were good in his eight innings of work, allowing three earned runs and striking out seven before his elbow ligament succumbed to the rigors of repeated use and the unnatural human movement that is pitching a baseball.
Orioles SP John Means has begun a throwing program, taking a crucial step in his rehabilitation from Tommy John Surgery.
As much as the Orioles missed John Means (and as much as John Means assuredly missed pitching), they in addition to all current pitchers that the reconstructive procedure has become more routine with the prognosis much more positive – most pitchers return to action within 12 months. Being nearly six months post-op, Means beginning a throwing program now appears to put him right on schedule.
While his recovery seems to be going well, expecting John Means to be on the Opening Day roster may be unrealistic. If all continues according to plan, the lefty should be back in the starting rotation before the end of July in what Baltimore hopes is the departure of a non-stop train towards the 2023 playoffs.
Several starting pitchers performed admirably in his absence, but a returning John Means gives the Orioles rotation a needed boost as the club aims to transition from plucky underdog to legit contender. The fan favorite has been one of baseball’s best left handed starting pitchers since his breakout in 2019. In 2021, only seven lefty starters with 140+ innings pitched accumulated more fWAR than John Means.
Means will likely join Dean Kremer and Kyle Bradish in the rotation when he returns – the other fellow starters remain to be determined (Jordan Lyles? Grayson Rodriguez? A trade acquisition?!) and while his contributions to the commentary booth will be sorely missed, his work on the field will more than compensate.