Baltimore Orioles pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez might miss the remainder of the regular season after being diagnosed with a Grade 2 right lat strain, according to Zachary Silver. Orioles general manager Mike Elias estimated Rodriguez wouldn't be ready to return to action until September, or so late in the season that they'll focus instead on Opening Day 2023.
Rodriguez, 22, suffered the injury earlier this week in a Triple-A start. In 11 outings this season, he had a 2.09 ERA and a 5.71 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Rodriguez entered the spring ranked by CBS Sports as the fifth best prospect in the minors. Here's what we wrote at the time:
Rodriguez, the final first-round pick Baltimore under Dan Duquette's watch, has proven to be a quality parting gift. He split last season between High- and Double-A, compiling a 2.36 ERA and a 5.96 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Rodriguez already looks like a big-league starter thanks to a physical frame and a broad, high-grade arsenal. He's capable of dialing up his fastball into triple digits and elevating it above the batter's hands late in counts. He complements the heater with several swing-and-miss secondary pitches, including a nasty slider that qualifies as his second-best pitch. Rodriguez has already achieved a high degree of success in Double-A, meaning he should open the year in Triple-A before making his big-league debut come summer.
It should be noted that Rodriguez is no lock to make the Opening Day roster next spring. The Orioles could use his injury as a way to further manipulate his service time, the way they did with catcher Adley Rutschman this year. (Rutschman only made his big-league debut on May 21.) After all, the Orioles could send him to the minors early on and claim that they're using the demotion to better manage his workload.