BALTIMORE (AP)— The Baltimore Orioles placed All-Star reliever Félix Bautista on the 15-day disabled list Saturday, with the expectation that his ailing elbow will not keep him out for the remainder of the season.

“Early indications are he has some degree of injury to the ulnar collateral ligament,” Orioles general manager Mike Elias said. “We have not firmed down any timetable or anything of that nature.”

Although a UCL injury can lead to Tommy John surgery, Elias expressed hope that the team’s closer can return to help the AL East leaders secure a playoff berth or possibly provide assistance in the playoffs.

Orioles' Félix Bautista Named American League Reliever Of The Year -  PressBox

“Félix Bautista’s absence, no matter how brief, is difficult to cover. “He’s the best reliever in baseball right now,” Elias stated. “But we do have many talented arms.”

The injury happened Friday night during Baltimore’s 5-4 victory over Colorado. Bautista retired the first two hitters in the ninth inning and had a 2-2 count on Michael Toglia before the right-hander walked off the field in obvious pain after the 12th pitch.

After being inspected by team trainers, Bautista exited the game.

Elias feels the injury occurred during the final pitch and was not caused by throwing in discomfort.

I don’t want to guess, but it appeared to me that one pitch had an unpleasant movement pattern,” the GM stated. “He was not having any issues prior to that pitch.”

This season, Bautista has established himself as one of baseball’s most dominant and effective closers. Because of his stature, the 6-foot-8, 285-pounder is known as “The Mountain,” and his fastball has been timed at speeds above 100 mph.

Bautista took the loss for the AL All-Stars in July, allowing two runs in two-thirds of an inning, but it hasn’t detracted from his accomplishments for the surprising Orioles, who have the second-best record in the majors (80-48 until Friday). Bautista is 8-2 with a 1.48 ERA and 33 saves in 39 appearances.

The 28-year-old has 110 strikeouts and 26 walks in 61 innings over 56 games.

“Félix has been such an important member of our team. “Best closer in the game,” manager Brandon Hyde stated. “It’s been great to see him perform what he does. Last night was terrible. Bottom line. I just hope for the best for him.”

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