Unable to play the field thanks to lingering soreness in his right elbow, the Baltimore Orioles have placed catcher Matt Wieters on the disabled list. His return remains uncertain, however, as the team is not yet sure just how severe the injury is. They will have him rest for two to three weeks before re-evaluating, according to MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli.
We’ll take a two or three week period to see if we can get it managed and then if he can catch the rest of the year. Or if he’s still having problems with it at the six week mark, we will have to think about something else,” manager Buck Showalter said of Wieters, who had his elbow examined by Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday. “That’s as frank as I can be about it. That’s where we are with it.”
Ghiroli quickly notes that the six week mark that Showalter alludes to is a rough estimate of the timeline that the two sides have before making a decision regarding surgery if they want Wieters to return in time for the start of next season. Typical recovery for such a procedure as Wieters may need is around nine months, meaning the team would need to schedule his procedure no later than the first week of July if they want him ready to begin the year.
The hope, of course, is that rest will be enough to alleviate the concerns. Wieters has been dealing with elbow pain off and on for much of his career, but the past week it has flared up enough that he’s been unable to throw and limited swinging the bat. The team’s trainers have been treating it as best they can, but ultimately a prolonged period of rest could be the best course of action.
Steve Clevenger will likely see the bulk of the playing time behind the plate for the Orioles moving forward, with Caleb Joseph recalled to back him up. Neither presents a strong option over an extended period of time, as rumors cropped up over the weekend that the team had started to look for additional catching depth – potentially even dangling reliever Troy Patton as a means to acquire it. Both Clevenger and Joseph are inexperienced, but will have Wieters traveling with the team to help them along the way. Baltimore may continue to look at potential options to add depth behind the plate, but until they have a better idea of how long Wieters may be out they will likely not get too aggressive about making a move.