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Frustrated Matt Wieters said early tests on sore elbow 'pretty normal'

Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters stands on a field during a spring training baseball workout in Sarasota, Fla., Friday, Feb. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters stands on a field during a spring training baseball workout in Sarasota, Fla., Friday, Feb. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (Patrick Semansky / AP)

A day after soreness in his surgically repaired right elbow forced Matt Wieters out of a spring training game, the Orioles' All-Star catcher said all the tests he'd taken had come back "pretty normal," though he didn't have a diagnosis on what the issue was.

"It's frustrating, just because of all the surgery and all the rehab that you go through," Wieters said. "You want to feel 100 percent, all the time. But it's something to where I think yesterday, I was more frustrated than anything else. Today, it's kind of accepting it, knowing we'll keep working through it and keep making it stronger. God has a plan for us all, and we'll keep getting it stronger and move forward."

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After undergoing more tests and receiving treatment Sunday morning, Wieters said the elbow was "a little stiff, a little sore," but "nothing too bad." He was relieved that the X-ray came back clean Saturday, and said an MRI on an elbow that was already reconstructed in 2014 is bound to show something, but could be an option in the coming days.

Manager Buck Showalter said the team will wait a few days to see if the pain subsides, but said he's "not a glass-half-empty guy.

"I'm thinking best case scenario right now," Showalter said.

Wieters initially felt discomfort in Saturday's Orioles win over the Minnesota Twins on a throw to second base in attempt to cut down a stealing Eduardo Nunez in the first inning, Showalter said.

The throw sailed high and wide, and by the end of the inning bench coach John Russell told Showalter he believed Wieters didn't look right.

Wieters confirmed as much Sunday.

"I made the throw," he said. "Still, everything felt pretty normal coming out, and after the throw it tightened up on me, and stayed tight as I was throwing the ball back to the pitcher.

"We thought it was best to shut it down at that point," Wieters said. "I've just got to come and get all the symptoms cleared up, then get back to playing, whenever that is."

Moments after Wieters provided an update in Sarasota, Showalter said in Fort Myers ahead of Sunday's game with the Minnesota Twins that the team wanted to see if the discomfort subsides in the coming days.

"We're going to try to let it, any problems that he may have felt at that time dissipate and wherever there's any soreness or stiffness, see where we are in a couple of days," Showalter said.

Just as he did Saturday, Showalter said the previous surgery on Wieters' elbow was cause for alarm. That clearly played into the decision to lift him from the game.

"What would you think if you had some discomfort in an area that you had surgery," Showalter said. "You would have some concern. I appreciate him erring on the side of safety. We've got people who have a history with him, and we'll see what each day brings."

The team's lengthy history with their 2007 first-round draft pick will inform both the path forward, and has already colored how the team and its manager is reacting.

"I feel the same thing that Matt feels and the fans and everybody," Showalter said. "I'm a fan of Matt and the Orioles, and they're one and the same. It's a great reminder to us all. Things come and go. You better be able to adapt on the move."

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More practically, the team may look to last year's spring as proof that Wieters need not be rushed back to game action.

Last spring, as Wieters was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery but aiming to be back for Opening Day, he suffered a setback and ultimately didn't debut with the Orioles until June 5.

Only a day out from the injury, Wieters said there's no such timetable available at this point.

"It's just a matter of kind of letting the soreness and stiffness go away and get back to strengthening from there, go from there," he said.

"It's all about getting all the symptoms out of there, which from talking to everybody and [head athletic trainer] Richie [Bancells], we feel like we should be able to get on top of the symptoms, get them out of there and go from there," Wieters said.

On Saturday, manager Buck Showalter said he wasn't trying to downplay the fact that it was alarming that Wieters had surgery on the same elbow in 2014, but offered up several possibilities that aren't issues long-term, such as typical spring training soreness in a catcher's arm, and offered up several possibilities — like routine scar tissue breaking in the elbow.

In 2014, Wieters was in the midst of a strong start to his season, hitting five home runs in 26 games with an .839 OPS before opting for surgery to repair the elbow ligament in his throwing arm.

Last season, Wieters missed the first two months of the season, rarely caught back-to-back days, and finished the season batting .267/.319/.422 with eight home runs in 75 games. He had a pair of hits in 12 at-bats this spring, and was looking forward to a healthy season after accepting a $15.8 million qualifying offer to remain in Baltimore and delay free agency until after the season.

Baltimore Sun columnist Peter Schmuck contributed to this story.

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