It’s been a rough year for Pirates right-hander Chad Kuhl, who will seek another opinion on his right elbow/forearm after experiencing further setbacks during his rehab of a right forearm strain. Multiple reports from Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and MLB.com’s Adam Berry revealed that Kuhl was unable to complete a bullpen session on Tuesday, which prompted him to schedule an additional follow-up with Dr. David Altchek in New York City next week. There’s still no clear timetable for his return to the rotation, though it appears highly unlikely that he’ll be able to work his way back to the mound before the end of the 2018 season.
Kuhl, 26, hasn’t pitched in a major-league game since the end of June, when he first sustained the injury over a four-inning, 70-pitch outing against the Mets. Following his initial meeting with Dr. Altchek in July, the righty was instructed to adhere to a strict no-throw period of four weeks, which he completed before he was finally cleared to throw bullpen sessions in mid-August.
Prior to the incident, Kuhl went 5-5 in 16 starts with a 4.55 ERA, 3.5 BB/9 and career-best 8.6 SO/9 through 85 innings. He doesn’t have a history of elbow troubles, making this the first significant setback of his career to date, and one that may keep him on the shelf a good while longer if surgery is recommended.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter is not expected to retain his position with the club beyond the 2018 season, according to multiple reports from Jon Heyman of Fancred and Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. Nothing appears to be finalized just yet, however, and the Orioles have yet to address rumors of Showalter’s impending departure or news of a possible contract extension for general manager Dan Duquette.
Even so, it’s been a year of near-unprecedented disaster for the 62-year-old skipper, who helped lead the team to a 44-108 record prior to the outcome of Friday’s series opener against the Yankees. With the Orioles’ 108th loss — a 4-6 heartbreaker against the Blue Jays on Tuesday — they tied the 1937 St. Louis Browns for the second-most losses in a single season, eclipsed only by the 43-111 record of the 1939 Browns. As they have just 10 games remaining in the regular season, this year’s team has no chance of climbing out of last place in the AL East and may well finish with the worst record in the AL to boot.
While the Orioles’ missteps don’t bode well for Showalter’s future in Baltimore, he’s brought far more good than harm to the organization over the last eight and a half years. He assumed the managerial position from interim manager Juan Samuel in the middle of the team’s 2010 season and guided the club to five winning seasons and three postseason appearances in 2012, 2014, and 2016. Entering the 2018 season, his record sits at 666 wins and 677 losses, the winningest mark by any of the team’s skippers since Earl Weaver wrapped his 17-season run with the team in 1986. Whether the Orioles believe Showalter is capable of recovering from two consecutive losing seasons and returning the team to their former days of glory (and the occasional division title) remains to be seen, of course, though there’s plenty to recommend him as they prepare to advance a full-scale rebuild over the offseason.