Matt Wieters out of Orioles starting lineup with stiff back

Orioles manager Buck Showalter expects Matt Wieters to be back to catch Monday.

Matt Wieters is out of the starting lineup for today’s series finale in Tampa Bay after complaining of back stiffness after catching Saturday’s 5-1 win over the Rays.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he wanted to start Wieters at first base this afternoon. Wieters had been doing pregame work at first the previous two days.

Showalter said he expects Wieters to be back catching Monday when the Orioles open their three-game series against the Atlanta Braves.

“He’s a lot better today,” Showalter said. “I think he’ll be fine to catch tomorrow. … I talked to him this morning. I know it was more of a definite no last night than talking to him today. He’s a lot better today, but I don’t want to jeopardize tomorrow.

“It just stiffened up on him a couple times,” Showalter added. “You couldn’t tell from him catching. I thought he had a heck of a game behind the plate, but he said it was challenging the past couple of innings.”

Showalter definitely wanted to have Wieters in the lineup Sunday given his success against Rays left-hander Matt Moore. He is hitting .571 (8-for-14) with 2 homers, 3 RBIs against Moore, who is making his fifth start back from Tommy John surgery.

Wieters started his seventh consecutive game since the all-star break on Saturday, but has yet to catch on back-to-back days since July 6 and 7 – the only time he’s caught consecutive days since returning from Tommy John surgery.

Otherwise, he is still catching every other day, but the Orioles have still been able to keep Wieters bat in the lineup by slotting him in the designated hitter spot in between catching days. But the team has been preparing to get him starts at first base.

But Wieters hasn’t had much success from the DH spot. Wieters is 1-for-17 with eight strikeouts as a designated hitter this season and is a career .196 hitter in 153 plate appearances from the DH spot.

-- David Lough is back in the leadoff spot today after going 2-for-2 with two runs scored on Saturday in his first start atop the order since April.

Lough, who is considered one of the team's speediest players, hit an eighth-inning triple on Saturday and scored on an errant relay throw to third.

Showalter said he'd like to see Lough use his athleticism on the bases.

"It’s attractive to everybody, guys who can score from first on a double and second on a single," Showalter said. "There’s a lot of guys who can run a good time in a 60-yard dash but it doesn’t play into baseball speed. One of the best baseball hitters I had was Mattingly and he couldn’t outrun me. There’s two sides to that. David pushed the envelope a little bit last night. On paper, [with] a good throw and he’s probably out but he pushed the envelope and got a return for it.

"You want athletic guys to play athletically, and guys like him and Nolan, I want them to play athletically," he added. "There’s a lot of guys who can test well in the standing broad jump and the 10-yard dash and all that stuff, but is it baseball playable? He’s capable of that. I just want him to play with a little more...to take advantage of his athletic skills."

-- The Orioles plan to decide Monday whether Steve Pearce, currently on the disabled list with a left oblique strain, will remain with the club or go to Sarasota for rehab. Pearce will be re-evaluated on Monday in Baltimore by team trainers.

Here are the starting lineups for today’s game:

Orioles
David Lough LF
Chris Davis DH
Manny Machado 3B
Adam Jones CF
J.J. Hardy SS
Nolan Reimold RF
Ryan Flaherty 1B
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Caleb Joseph C
Wei-Yin Chen LHP

Rays
Brandon Guyer CF
Steven Souza Jr. RF
Evan Longoria DH
Logan Forsythe 2B
Joey Butler LF
James Loney 1B
Tim Beckham SS
Jake Elmore 3B
Curt Casali C
Matt Moore LHP

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