The Baltimore Orioles didn't do much to bolster a shaky rotation ahead of the MLB trade deadline, only adding Jack Flaherty from the Cardinals, and the right-hander has struggled. However, the Birds' biggest potential addition could arrive Tuesday night as former All-Star John Means returns to the majors after recovering from Tommy John surgery. The southpaw is set at over/under 3.5 strikeouts at DraftKings against the visiting Cardinals, and his team a -200 favorite.
It truly feels like forever ago that Means was named a 2019 All-Star and runner-up for AL Rookie of the Year. Now 30, he was 12-11 with a 3.60 ERA in 155 innings that season. Means was limited to 10 starts in the shortened 2020 COVID season and was 2-4 with a 4.53 ERA but bounced back in 2021 with a 6-9 mark, 3.62 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 26 starts.
That included a no-hitter on May 5, 2021 against Seattle with Means striking out 12 batters while facing the minimum of 27 batters. His only baserunner, Sam Haggerty, reached on a dropped third strike in the third inning and was eventually caught trying to steal second.
Last year, Means pitched twice in early April before eventually landing on the injured list and going under the knife. Pitchers who undergo Tommy John are typically given a recovery timetable of 12-18 months, but Means' return was delayed a bit when he suffered an upper-back strain while working out in May.
His final rehab start was last Wednesday with Triple-A Norfolk. Means threw 67 pitches over five innings. He had a 3.74 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 21.2 innings over his six rehab outings overall and doesn't anticipate any limitations on Tuesday.
"I feel really good; the body feels good," Means said on Sunday. "I'm ready to go. I really like where [I'm] at. I like the way the pitches are moving and the reactions I'm getting. So I feel good about it."
No other props are available on Means as of this writing.
Means has never faced the Cardinals. The only lefty the Orioles had in the rotation at times this year was Cole Irvin (1-4, 4.66 ERA), and he has been shifted to the bullpen.
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