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The Baltimore Orioles activated left-handed pitcher John Means from the injured list on Tuesday in time for his start against the St. Louis Cardinals (GameTracker). Means made his first appearance in a Major League Baseball game since April 13, 2022, after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

The outing was a bit of a mixed bag. He allowed a home run in the first, allowed the Cardinals to load the bases before recording an out in the second and gave up a solo homer in the fourth. He only recorded one strikeout in his five innings of work. On the positive side, he worked out of the second inning only allowing one run to score on a sac fly. He also retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced, so there was some settling in after a rocky start. 

The final line: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 1 K

He threw 75 pitches, 55 of which were strikes. 

Means, 30, had established himself as an above-average big-league starter prior to tearing his ulnar collateral ligament. In 70 career appearances (65 of them starts), he's amassed a 3.81 ERA (121 ERA+) and a 4.22 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He recorded a no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners on May 5, 2021.

Back when Means was last hearty and hale, he leaned on a low-90s four-seamer as well as his signature changeup as his top offerings. He also throws a pair of breaking balls: an upper-70s curve and mid-80s slider.

Means made six starts split between Double- and Triple-A as part of a rehab assignment. He tallied a 3.74 ERA and a 2.75 strikeout-to-walk ratio across 21 innings and seemed pleased with his progress. "I really like where (I'm) at," he told reporters. "I like the way the pitches are moving and the reactions I'm getting, so I feel good about it."

The Orioles would seem to have most of their playoff rotation set, with Kyle Bradish, Grayson Rodriguez, and Dean Kremer locking in spots. Means, then, could be competing against Kyle Gibson, Jack Flaherty, and Cole Irvin for the fourth and final spot. Flaherty, a trade deadline acquisition, has surrendered 35 hits and 23 runs (all but one earned) in 27 innings since joining the Orioles.

In a corresponding move, the Orioles optioned right-handed reliever Joey Krehbial to Triple-A to clear space on the active roster.