Orioles activate ace lefthander John Means
John Means of the Baltimore Orioles delivers a pitch on his way to throwing a no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, Washington, on May 5, 2021. (Photo by Kyodo News/Sipa USA) Kyodo News

The Orioles announced they’ve reinstated left-hander John Means from the 10-day injured list to start Tuesday night’s game against the Rays. Outfielder Ryan McKenna was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk to clear active roster space.

Means has missed around six weeks after landing on the IL with a shoulder strain. That was an unfortunate development that halted what has been a breakout season for the 28-year-old. Through 71 innings, Means has worked to a sterling 2.28 ERA/3.80 SIERA. He’s missing bats at a career-best 25.7% rate and has continued to avoid free passes (4.9% walk percentage). He’s had plenty of success with all three of his offerings (fastball, slider and changeup) and racked up swinging strikes at a lofty 14% clip (against an 11.6% league average).

Along with that strong performance came some questions about Means’ long-term future. With the Orioles still rebuilding and not particularly close to contention, it’s not out of the question Baltimore could give some thought to moving Means for a haul of younger talent. There are only 10 days remaining until the trade deadline, however, so there’s not much time for Means to demonstrate to contenders he’s back to peak health and form.

That’s not to say teams won’t be in contact with O’s general manager Mike Elias over the next week-plus. There’d still surely be plenty of interest in Means if Baltimore were to make him available, particularly considering the lack of other top-of-the-rotation arms expected to be on the trade block this summer. Still, there’s no urgency for the Orioles to move Means at this point, so other clubs can’t bank on his recent injury reducing the asking price. The O’s can keep Means in Baltimore via arbitration through the end of the 2024 season.

This article first appeared on MLB Trade Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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