The Baltimore Orioles announced that left-hander John Means was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left shoulder strain Sunday. In a corresponding move, the O’s recalled southpaw Zac Lowther from Triple-A Norfolk.
Means departed his Saturday start against Cleveland in the first inning, after recording two outs and allowing a pair of runs on three hits, including two home runs. After undergoing an MRI on Sunday, Baltimore officially moved Means to the IL.
For his part, at the time, he didn’t seem to think it’s a significant injury. “It’s not major, it’s nothing serious, it’s more annoying than anything,” he told reporters (including Roch Kubatko of MASN) while divulging that it’s something he’s been dealing with in recent weeks.
Means, 28, was off to a phenomenal start to the season. In 11 outings prior to Saturday’s, he’d posted a 2.05 ERA (209 ERA+) and a 5.23 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He seemed certain to make his second career All-Star Game in July, and he seemed probable to earn votes on a Cy Young Award ballot this winter for the first time.
Means has made a habit out of missing time because of shoulder-related woes. He’s required stints on the injured list because of fatigue or a strain in each of his first two full seasons.
An extended absence from Means is bad news for the lowly Orioles, who fell to 20-38 on the season with Saturday’s loss. The Orioles have the worst record in the American League, as well as the worst run differential, at minus-66. The Pittsburgh Pirates, at minus-74, have the worst run differential in all of the majors.
The Orioles did receive some good news from Saturday’s game, as outfielder Cedric Mullins continued his breakout effort by homering twice. Mullins is hitting .314/.379/.511 with eight home runs and nine stolen bases (on 13 tries).