Prior to Monday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter made an announcement that wasn’t expected to come until July 1. Showalter told reporters that two-time All-Star catcher, who is currently leading in votes to start this year’s All-Star Game, Matt Wieters will not be returning to the Orioles this season. He needs Tommy John surgery and it is scheduled for today.
Wieters, who has been dealing with a partially torn unlar collateral ligament in his elbow since early May, has not caught in a game since May 4 and has not played in one since May 10. He saw famed Tommy John surgeon Dr. James Andrews on May 12 but was not even cleared to start playing catch until May 30.
The Orioles, and Wieters, were hoping to get lucky and avoid surgery, thereby getting Wieters to return prior to the end of the season. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen. While Wieters’ recovery time is estimated at nine months, shorter than the 12-18 months needed when a pitcher undergoes the surgery, he will miss the rest of the 2014 season. The Orioles are hopeful that he will be back in action by opening day 2015.
However lucky the Orioles were hoping to get in this situation Showalter said,
“I think we all knew where it was headed. It really wasn’t making a whole lot of progress.”
That is likely why Wieters visited Dr. Andrews over this past weekend almost two weeks sooner than initially anticipated. Wieters was supposed to strengthen his arm via a prescribed throwing program, but his elbow just was not getting any better.
This outcome wasn’t totally unexpected due to the fact that the Orioles traded for catcher Nick Hundley from the Padres in late May. As back-up the Orioles have rookie Caleb Joseph, as well as Steve Clevenger who is currently starting at Triple-A Norfolk.
Regarding Wieters return in 2015, Showalter told reporters,
“It’s not going to be if, it’s going to be when.”
Prior to sustaining the injury, the 28-year old, Wieters was having a great start to the season. He finishes the season batting .308 with five home runs and 18 RBI in 26 games.