Baltimore Orioles: Concern for Matt Wieters?


Ubaldo Jimenez turned in his best outing of the spring yesterday for the Baltimore Orioles in their 3-2 victory in Fort Myers over Minnesota. Jimenez’s line: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K. The great news for Orioles fans about Jimenez is that he’s gotten progressively better in each of his four outings this spring. You’ll recall that he pitched the spring opener against Detroit and in his two innings of work he got “rocked.” That’s a far cry from today.

What I’ll also throw in on Jimenez is that no matter how bad some of his outings have looked this spring, he’s generally kept his walks down. In that first start he had three (over two innings), then two in the next, none in his third start, and only one yesterday. One issue Jimenez had last year was with walks, so even at his worst this spring Jimenez hasn’t looked as ba when it comes to issuing free passes.

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Jonathan Schoop hit a two-run homer in the second inning with Steve Clevenger on base to give the O’s a 2-0 lead over Minnesota. An inning later Evereth Cabrera hit into a fielder’s choice-RBI to put the Birds ahead 3-0. Jimenez would allow a run in the fourth on a sac fly, and an inning later Eduardo Nunez would add an RBI-single. Rule 5 draft pick Logan Verrett also pitched two innings following Jimenez and allowed just one hit.

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However the big news of the day for the O’s involved catcher Matt Wieters, who Buck Showalter announced would be shut down from catching duties for a week due to tendinitis in his elbow. Showalter was very quick to say that this was normal, and that they had almost expected this. Wieters is under the care of Dr. James Andrews, and this is the course of action that was suggested. Showalter went on to say that Wieters might be available to DH a soon as Sunday.

Let’s be frank; Tommy John surgery is nothing to laugh at. Perhaps it is somewhat surprising that there’s been nothing o this nature that’s happened as of yet, however that doesn’t mean that Orioles fans shouldn’t be concerned. Fans should also keep in mind that medical issues as such are never a sure thing when it comes to timing. Furthermore, I suspect it’s also questionable as to whether or not this would be something he would have played through had this been the regular season.

According to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports, Showalter doesn’t appear overly concerned:

"It was something we were all kind of expecting at some point. We all kind of thought if we back off a little bit, we’ve a long time yet. We’re only halfway through the spring training season."

Having said that, I gaurantee that Showalter and the coaching staff are probably re-evaluating their options at catcher in terms of who would be staying with the team if Wieters is on the DL come opening day. My guess would be that Caleb Joseph would be the starting catcher, with Steve Clevenger as the backup.

Time will tell whether or not this is truly an issue or not. Wieters of course is famously 0-for-23 at the plate in spring training, so perhaps this will also give him some time to get his swing straight. The Orioles return home to Sarasota this afternoon for another meeting with Pittsburgh. Chris Tillman will be on the mound for the Orioles today. Opposite of Tillman will be a familiar name to Orioles fans, as Radamus Liz takes to the hill for Pittsburgh.

Next: Baltimore Orioles: Wieters' tendinitis means get Plan B ready