Strength in numbers: Orioles will look to other arms in the bullpen after Bautista injury.

With the Baltimore Orioles clinging to a 5-4 lead in the ninth inning, they called on all-star closer Felix Bautista. The man they call “The Mountain” needed just 5 pitches to get the first two outs, but something strange occurred shortly after the third man came up to the plate.

After Bautista threw his third pitch of the at-bat, he spun off of the mound, moving around his throwing arm. It’s worthy to note that he was also seen opening and closing his throwing hand after the previous two pitches. As a precautionary move, the Orioles took him out of the game. Danny Coulombe needed one pitch to record the final out, and Baltimore escaped the Colorado Rockies 5-4.

Earlier this afternoon, the team announced that Felix Bautista suffered some kind of UCL injury. They aren’t exactly sure if it’s torn or not, but Bautista’s been placed on the 15-day IL. Orioles’ general manager Mike Elias said he doesn’t know “when or if” Felix Bautista will pitch again in 2023.

In response to this move, Baltimore called up left-handed reliever D.L. Hall. In 19 appearances in the minors, Hall has registered a 3.98 ERA with 78 strikeouts. After returning to AAA after a brief rehab stint in rookie ball, Hall has a K/9 rate of 13. The 24-year-old flamethrower will look to bolster a bullpen that just experienced a huge loss.

Felix Bautista is arguably the best closer in baseball, but it’s hard to think the bullpen will fall apart in his absence. With household names like Cionel Perez and Bryan Baker holding down the fort, and newcomers like Jacob Webb, Yennier Cano, and Shintaro Fujinami shocking many, this team will be just fine. It’s tough to say who the Orioles new closer will be, but what we do know is that it’s even more important now for our starters to go deep. Guys in the ‘pen have already come close to/hit career highs in innings, asking them to pick up more will only hurt down the stretch.

It doesn’t look good for Felix Bautista, who might not come back in 2023. The big question looming for the Birds is: do you bring him back and risk more injury, or sit him down until 2024?

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