Baltimore Orioles: Matt Wieters hurt in first spring win

Courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Baltimore Orioles won their first spring game this afternoon, however it came at the price of an injury to catcher Matt Wieters.

One would think that the first victory in Florida Grapefruit League play would be a cause of a mini-celebration for the Baltimore Orioles. However those celebrations ended up being somewhat muted, after catcher Matt Wieters had to leave the game in the first inning. The Orioles later announced that Wieters had soreness in his right elbow, which is of course the elbow that had Tommy John’s surgery in 2014. It’s unclear how long Wieters will be sidelined – if at all.

The O’s got a good start out of Ubaldo Jimenez, who turned in his second consecutive strong outing after a dud in game one. Jimenez’s line: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K. Jimenez labored a bit in the first, facing seven hitters. However he limited the damage to an RBI-double off the bat of Minnesota’s Quentin.

However once the narrative flipped to the last of the first, it was a different ballgame. Manny Machado scored from third on a wild pitch with Mark Trumbo at the plate to tie the score at one. With the likes of Jones and Davis having already been on base behind Machado, they were brought home on Trumbo’s RBI-single. For the record, that was the closest Minnesota got for the remainder of the game. 

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  • Machado would figure into the Orioles’ next scoring spurt as well, one inning later. His RBI-double would give the Birds a 4-1 lead. Oriole pitching seemingly shut Minnesota down for the most part, and in the last of the sixth they grew their lead on a two-run homer by Audry Perez. One inning later in the last of the seventh Steve Tolleson would smack a two-run homer of his own, to run the final tally to 8-1.

    Oriole bats seemingly came alive this afternoon, which was good to see. And if you look at the absence of as many home games for the Orioles as compared to other teams, it makes sense that they might start to come around at this point. There’s also something symetrical about baseball at times in the sense that Audry Perez replaced Wieters when he left the game, and he ended up smacking a two-run home run later in the game. Perez would have seen action this afternoon anyways, however neither he nor the Orioles were expecting it to be as early as it ended up being.

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    Courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
    Courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

    Obviously while it’s good to get a win (especially after losing so many consecutively), the bigger story that sets a pall over the victory is Wieters’ injury. As I said, it’s unclear how serious the injury is or how long (if at all) Wieters will be out. For what it’s worth, Wieters stayed in the dugout for awhile after leaving the game and eventually when he did make his way to the Orioles’ clubhouse it was along – in other words, no trainer went with him. In theory that’s a good thing, but at this point we just don’t know.

    Whatever happens with Wieters, we know that the Orioles are fairly deep at the catcher position. Just a gut feeling (based mainly on the fact that Wieters didn’t appear to be in an immense amount of pain), but my prediction is that if he misses any time it will be minimal. But if this lingers into the regular season, as I said the O’s are deept at catcher.

    Next: Baltimore Orioles: Does Tyler Wilson have a shot?

    The O’s will take on Minnesota once again tomorrow afternoon down in Fort Myers. Miguel Gonzalez will get the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Ricky Nolasco. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.