BALTIMORE — With Monday’s discussion centering around a potential suspension for third baseman Manny Machado, the Orioles received not-so-encouraging news regarding the future of catcher Matt Wieters.
Manager Buck Showalter confirmed the 28-year-old is expected to see renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews for a follow-up appointment next Monday to reevaluate the status of his sore right elbow. Wieters began a throwing progression on May 30 but is still experiencing discomfort in his elbow, which could result in him electing to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery.
“He probably hasn’t as progressed as quickly as Matt had hoped it would, but it hasn’t been any setback or anything,” Showalter said. “I think he just wants to get from Dr. Andrews where he thinks he is and let him see it again. It wasn’t per se scheduled, but I think it’s something Matt would like to do just to make sure that he agrees with where he is and the way we’re proceeding.”
Wieters completed his latest throwing session on Monday, which was one of his best since he was cleared to throw. The Orioles have discussed July 1 as the point when a decision would need to be made about undergoing surgery to make sure the two-time All-Star catcher would be ready for the start of the 2015 season, the final year he is under team control before hitting free agency.
The Orioles placed Wieters on the 15-day disabled list on May 11 and hasn’t caught in a game since May 4. The trio of Caleb Joseph, Steve Clevenger, and the recently-acquired Nick Hundley have filled in behind the plate in Wieters’ absence.
“I’m still holding out hope that we get something accomplished and Dr. Andrews says, ‘This is so; let’s continue down this path,’” Showalter said. “It’s a date that would allow him to start the season next year. That’s really what it is. It doesn’t mean that he can’t continue down this road and not start the season on time next year. That’s a decision that he’s going to make, and we’re going to be supportive of it regardless.”
Wieters leads American League All-Star voting at the catcher position and was off to arguably the best offensive start of his career, hitting .308 with five home runs and 18 runs batted in.
Showalter remained optimistic on Monday, but the continued presence of pain is not a good sign as Wieters and the Orioles try to decide how to proceed. The Baltimore manager expected Wieters to continue his program of throwing every other day until his appointment with Dr. Andrews next Monday.
“He still has some discomfort, but nothing like he had,” Showalter said. “Matt was hoping it would have progressed a little more at this point. I think he wants to get Dr. Andrews’ opinion, and Dr. Andrews thinks that’s a good idea. He’s just going to go in and what they come out of that appointment with, let’s put it this way, I hope I see him [next] Tuesday.”