Kevin Gausman still waiting to throw as Matt Wieters hits last checkpoint before catching again

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
Matt Wieters is nearing the last checkpoint in his return this spring, while Kevin Gausman is waiting for his.

Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman admitted he was probably a little ambitious in hoping he could play catch on Friday — five days after having a cortisone shot meant to relieve his right shoulder tendinitis.

“I think I was just being kind of hopeful, I guess, so we did some shoulder strengthening and stuff on Thursday,” Gausman said today. “Came in yesterday and thought I might have thrown, but we decided they’d rather have two days of shoulder stuff, so I have another strengthening day today, and then either throw tomorrow or Monday.”

Gausman, who has been pegged by many for a breakout year in his first full season as a starter, said the shoulder issue that bothered him at times last year is clearing up nicely because of the shot. If it was the season, he and manager Buck Showalter said at the time, he might have pitched through it, but they wanted to take care of it while they had time in spring.

“It’s gotten significantly better every day,” Gausman said. “I feel fine, my range of motion is great. The thing was, it was weird because once I got loose I was fine. I was still able to throw hard. I think just the way I was recovering was one of the signs that kind of told me it was tendinitis.”

He’s said he will have to build up from scratch once he resumes throwing again. While a disabled list stint backdated to March 25 — the earliest possible day — could get him into the rotation on April 10, he’ll have to balance his desire to make as many starts as possible with the threat of suffering a setback.

“I’m not going to come out and throw 40 pitches in my first bullpen, but I hope that it does kind of progress a little rapidly,” Gausman said. “I don’t want to miss three or four starts. I definitely want to be with the team early on in the season and be able to make 30-plus starts. My goal is to get there within the first two weeks of the season.”

Showalter, when asked, said "it depends on what you call the beginning of the year.

"The first time you need a fifth starter, it’s still a possibility," Showalter said. "We’ll see how Sunday or Monday goes."

Meanwhile, catcher Matt Wieters threw to bases for the first time since leaving the team’s March 12 game with tightness in his right elbow, on which he had surgery in 2014. Wieters and Showalter met Friday to discuss a timeline to get back into games at catcher, and without specifying what that date is, said “we’re moving towards it quickly.”

As Wieters was throwing on the Earl Weaver Little Field at the Ed Smith Stadium Complex, Showalter said Wieters would catch in a minor league intrasquad game Sunday at Twin Lakes Park.

“Right now, we’ll just throw to bases and hopefully everything will go fine and we’ll take another step forward,” Wieters said before Satuday's workout. “We’re getting to the point now where it feels as good as it did before I hurt it two weeks ago. Hopefully, get back out there, keep it strong and keep it healthy.”

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