The Orioles dropped the rubber game of their set versus the Guardians just as they learned the dire news of Rodriguez’s status. The highest-rated pitching prospect in the MLB could be out until next year. He hasn’t made his MLB debut yet, and all hope was lost as the medical team confirmed he’s probably out till’ 2023.
And while the team's loss against the Guardians was frustrating, the news about Rodriguez was worse. He was diagnosed with a Grade 2 right lateral strain that will keep him off the field for weeks. He'll be re-evaluated later and should have a clear timetable for a return. However, doctors are not optimistic that it'll happen before next year.
The timing of the news came at the worst moment. While president Mike Elias wouldn't rule out the possibility of Rodriguez making his Major League debut on the Opening Day in '23, this would also mean taking him off a mound for the remainder of the season. Fans were hoping to see him on the mound and were hoping for at least one match. Rodriguez is a highly valued prospect that came through the Minor League ranks, but injuries have derailed his debut. Hopefully, they won't derail his progress.
He’s only 22, so there’s plenty of time left to shine for the Orioles. He’ll start his rehab program in Sarasota in about a week. Elias said that Rodriguez is feeling good, and even though the forecast ahead is grim, he can still beat it. If he manages to defeat all outcomes, Rodriguez could be on the mound in September. It’s a long shot, but still.
There are a lot of variables included in it, so it's best to be cautiously optimistic. It all depends on how his rehab goes, and the Orioles won't rush things with their best prospect. He left the last outing just after five innings, feeling discomfort in his right lat. MRIs revealed it, spelling a lengthy return to action.
The MRIs Rodriguez took revealed a strain in the muscle, but no structural damage to the left arm. It was a sigh of relief for Elias and all Orioles fans. It might keep the highly-rated prospect from an MLB callup, but at least the problem doesn’t run deeper. It gets even better. Elias says that this is an injury the club can heal 100%, so once Rodriguez receives the green light, he’ll be up to running speed in no time.
It's not uncommon for pitchers to suffer lat injuries. Rodriguez's upper-90s fastball is definitely one of the culprits for his injury. In 2019, DL Hall suffered a similar problem, and he got back to his best after.
The Orioles are hoping that catching the issue on time will prevent reinjury. They are taking things slow and will allow their prospect to heal fully and recover before going back to the mound. One thing is for sure – when it finally happens, fans are going to love it!