Baltimore Orioles: Opening Day and Matt Wieters


Mar 7, 2015; Sarasota, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters (32) works out before a spring training baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, after Matt Wieters had a successful experience with catching in a game situation for the first time since ligament reconstruction surgery, everything was very positive that he might indeed be available for the opening day for the Baltimore Orioles. A day later, all of that is seriously in greater doubt, as Wieters is essentially being shut down for a week to allow some elbow tendonitis to dissipate.

Even though Showalter in all of his remarks make this sound like an event entirely within the normal range of experiences given Wieters’ not-too-distant surgery, it is difficult to not see this as a setback – at least in terms of realistically being available for the season opener against the Rays on April 6th.

It has always seemed to me to be a very aggressively hopeful scenario to anticipate Wieters coming back quite this fast, even though he is not a pitcher making this recovery. It takes a big arm to put that ball from catcher down to second base.

This is taking nothing away from Matt Wieters and his work on recovery, etc. I am amazed he has been able to do as much as has been done. But the hole he is coming out of is a deep one. His time away from the game was longer than Manny Machado’s most recent experience, for example.

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Wieters is also 0-for-23 at the plate and looks to be just a click behind the speed of the game.

Everything about this situation screams “not ready.”  It might be best to allow a slower and more deliberative recovery, hoping to have Wieters available by the end of April.

If Wieters is not ready on opening day, the Orioles are not the only ones who will be missing personnel. The Tampa Bay Rays actually have some greater troubles. They will be missing starting pitcher Drew Smyly for quite some time in the early going. But that is not all …

The word came out yesterday that starter Alex Cobb will be likely missing his presumed opening day assignment against the Orioles. He too is dealing with tendonitis – in his forearm, and may not be ready for the first couple weeks of the season.  

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Additionally, another of their rotation candidates – Alex Colome – is dealing with pneumonia and is out for the next week. If his experience is anything like mine as a collegiate pitcher, it could be a bigger deal than anticipated. I lost a season over it – was sick in November, felt fine by spring training, but couldn’t throw the ball past anyone.

The Orioles have their first three games against the Rays in Florida, and then they will see them again in Baltimore for the first three games of May.

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