The AL East champion Baltimore Orioles will be without one of their most trusted arms for the remainder of this season and beyond.
Félix Bautista will not pitch again this year and likely will not do so for the entire 2024 season, as the All-Star closer is set to undergo Tommy John surgery. The 28-year-old righty partially tore the UCL in his right elbow during an Aug. 25 game against the Colorado Rockies.
“That was kind of the long-term conclusion as soon as we had our arms around the injury,” general manager Mike Elias said Saturday.
Bautista was placed on the 15-day injured list the next day, with the belief that he could return this season. But even after he took part in multiple bullpen sessions and threw 25 pitches in a simulated setting this week, the decision was made to shut him down and have him undergo surgery.
“To Felix’s credit, he realized there might be a window to keep his arm throwing, up and running,” Elias said. “But we just ran out of time for this to be a feasible and successful option for the postseason, and it stopped making sense, so we went ahead and scheduled the surgery. There’s nothing that changed or nothing that happened in the last couple of weeks that he’s been throwing.”
Bautista recorded 33 saves in 56 appearances with 110 strikeouts and a 0.92 WHIP in 61 innings this season for the Orioles, who will play in the AL division series beginning Oct. 7.
Elias added that Bautista, who would’ve been eligible for salary arbitration after the 2024 season, agreed to a two-year, $2 million deal.
“He should be back to being Félix Bautista in the spring of 2025,” he said.