Baltimore Orioles: Read between the lines on Matt Wieters (updated)
So Matt Wieters is off to see Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, FL today with an elbow issue. First off, let me unequivocally state that I’m not a doctor. So bearing that in mind, I do think we should read between the lines just a bit here before assuming that the Baltimore Orioles’ catcher is going to get Tommy Johns surgery. First and foremost, Wieters played in last night’s game. Granted he was the DH, however I can’t see the Orioles putting him in harms way if he was seriously hurt.
Generally if there’s even a shot of a player going on the DL, teams will with hold them out of the lineup so as to have the option of
Courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
backdating a potential DL stint. Now in fairness here, if Wieters has to undergo reconstructive surgery the O’s aren’t going to be worried about one day here and there. However perhaps most poignantly, manager Buck Showalter told MASN’s Roch Kubatko that he hopes Wieters will be back behind the plate tonight.
To me, that’s the most telling part of this. While that’s certainly no guarantee that Wieters will be okay, it should serve as a signal to Orioles fans as to where Showalter and the organization stand on this point. Again, this is not to say that all will be well. Andrews could take one look at Wieters’ elbow today and send him off to surgery tomorrow. But if you read between the lines, it sounds like the team’s pretty sure what they’re dealing with now.
However if worst comes to worst, Steve Clevenger’s proven to be a viable option behind the dish. The Orioles have summoned Caleb Joseph from double-A Bowie; if Andrews thinks Wieters has to be sent to the DL (for any amount of time), Joseph will take his spot on the roster and assume the backup catcher duties. Ideally however, Joseph will end up like Jermile Weeks did in NY – joining the team only to never be activated and go back to the minors.
Update (1:50 PM) – According to a tweet from MASN’s Roch Kubatko, it sounds like the O’s have avoided any major issues with Matt Wieters’ elbow. Dr. James Andrews’ conclusion was that Wieters was not a candidate for any sort of surgical procedure (major surgery or otherwise) to fix any damage. Wieters will return to the team, although it’s possible that Caleb Joseph could still get a call up to serve as a backup catcher with Wieters acting as a DH for a period of time. In fact, that would make a lot of sense to me given that at some point in the near future, Chris Davis will probably be back, and the O’s will have to make a roster move to activate him. Stay tuned!