Orioles pitching prospect Hunter Harvey has been shut down with elbow discomfort, the latest in a long-lasting string of health issues that have prevented the former first-round pick from pitching a full professional season.
He is scheduled to see hand specialist Dr. Brian Schofield on Wednesday morning in Sarasota, Fla.
“He's had some elbow discomfort they didn't like in his last throw session,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Tuesday night. “That's a little discouraging.”
Harvey, who is 1-2 with a 5.57 ERA at Double-A Bowie this season, hasn’t pitched in a game since June 2, just before he went on the minor league disabled list with a dislocated shoulder he suffered from dodging a foul ball that went into the dugout.
He was in the middle of a throwing program at the team’s spring training complex in Sarasota as recently as last week with eyes on him returning for instructional league and potentially pitching in the Arizona Fall League.
This was supposed to be the season when the Orioles expected the 23-year-old Harvey, the Orioles’ first-round pick in 2013, to be a late-season major league consideration, but he’s made just nine minor league starts this season.
“We felt like by this time, if he was healthy, he'd be pitching potentially for us, so that's been a kick in the pants,” Showalter said. “A lot more of him than us. It's been a frustrating year for him physically."
Harvey entered the season healthy, a full season removed from Tommy John surgery in 2016, had a strong spring training, and actually received his first big-league call-up in early-April, though he didn’t pitch in his two days with the major league club.
But, once again, Harvey’s season will end with questions about his health.
According to one industry source, the hope is that Harvey merely has tendinitis in his elbow, saying that tests on his elbow have been clean, and that Harvey will hopefully resume throwing again soon and be able to pitch in instructional league next month.
Still, there is some concern about the injury throughout the organization, especially given Harvey’s injury history and that he’s already had elbow ligament replacement surgery.
Harvey entered the season being held to an innings count because of a litany of injuries that had prevented him from pitching more than 19 innings in any one year since his first full pro season in 2014. Only two of his nine starts with Bowie this season were more than four innings and he logged just 32 1/3 innings.