BALTIMORE — Grayson Rodriguez was “at the point of checking every box you could think of,” coming closer to his much-anticipated Major League debut. But now the hope is simply that the top pitching prospect in baseball (and No. 3 overall, per MLB Pipeline) can return to any mound before the end of the 2022 season, let alone do so in the Majors.
That was the unfortunate prognosis Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias shared on Sunday morning, announcing that Rodriguez has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 right lat strain that will shut the right-hander down from throwing for weeks before he is dealt a more concrete timeline for a return.
Elias wouldn’t rule out any possibilities, but said there is the chance the Orioles elect to keep him off a mound for the remainder of 2022, with a focus on him being part of the Opening Day rotation in ’23.
“The good news is this is an injury that we have a very, very high degree of confidence is going to heal, and he’ll be back to himself in no time,” Elias said. “At the very least, put himself in position to join our rotation right out of Spring Training. I think that’s our hope.”
Rodriguez left his last outing on Wednesday after just 5 2/3 innings with right lat discomfort. He was sent for second opinions after initial MRIs revealed the strain, and those evaluations confirmed the Grade 2 degree of the strain, Elias said.