Orioles catcher Matt Wieters still has his right arm in a metal splint after season-ending Tommy John surgery last month. And while he returned to the team for the first time Thursday since surgery, Wieters said he expects to be around the team, and have the splint off, when he rejoins the team for good after the Orioles' West Coast trip following the All-Star break.
Before Friday's game, Wieters talked about being back with his teammates, making the All-Star Game and his rehabilitation.
On being back:
It’s good to see the guys. Watching at home isn’t the same. I’ve definitely been champing at the bit to be able to get back and see these guys and help out wherever I can. If it’s just a little, it’s worth it to help these guys out any way I can. … It’s a great clubhouse. We’ve always loved every guy in this clubhouse, and even though I’m hurt, I still feel like I’m a part of the team.
On whether Orioles’ play makes it easier being out:
It’s great. It makes it a lot easier to see how they’re playing. I feel like everything is kind of rolling together right now with Caleb [Joseph] and Nick [Hundley] doing a great job behind the plate, so it makes it a lot easier to watch at home and a lot easier to watch from home.
On how much he reached out to Joseph and Hundley:
As well as they're playing, I just kind of shoot them a text and let them know they’re doing well. I’ve always tried to leave it open to where if they want to come talk to me, I’ll be as open as I can, but as long as the team’s rolling, I try to just stay out of the way when we’re playing well.
On how tough it has been being away:
That’s the main reason I want to be here. I want to be a part of it. I feel like this team is a special team and it has a chance. It’s fun to be a part of, and I [would have] loved to still be behind the plate, but it’s still fun to be with these guys and here every day.
On how tough it will be to not play in the All-Star Game:
I think the All-Star Game might be actually easier than the regular season. I think the All-Star Game is watching all the fun things that go on, getting to watch [Adam] Jonesy play, getting to watch Nelson [Cruz] play, getting to watch the Home Run Derby. I think [the] All-Star Game is more just kind of trying to sit back and enjoy and have a great seat as a fan, more than anything
On being voted a starter by the fans:
It’s a huge honor. It speaks for how good Orioles fans are and how they got out to the polls and voted. Jonesy is one of the main reasons I got there, because he was still fighting for that last spot, and him being able to get in, I think he carried me with him.
On whether fan support makes him feel more obligated to sign a long-team deal (asked jokingly):
I’m going to worry about rehabbing first. Hopefully we’ll be ready to go Opening Day of next year.
On how often he will be around the team going forward:
I want to be around the guys as much as I can. It’s been tough at home. At the same time, I’d love to go on the West Coast trip, but I think it’s best to avoid those couple flights and stay home for those two weeks, and once we get back, when the plane trips are a little shorter, I’ll be back with the team.
On his rehab:
It’s a long process. It’s something where surgery went well, and now we’re going through the steps of doing what you can each day and progressing. It’s not a two-week, three-week rehab. It’s a nine-month rehab where you just have the end goal in mind.
On whether rehab is painful:
It’s not painful. It’s more tightness than anything right now. I think right now it’s about getting the mobility and flexibility back in it and getting the swelling out, which is the most important thing right now
On attending All-Star Game:
It’s fun every time. I think the main reason is the fans put you in, so to be there and sort of be a part of it, but at the same time, it’s me kind of being a kid as well, wanting to see the best players in the game play.
On speaking to other catchers about recovery time:
I took a lot of time when the decision was having to be made, but two of my backups here had both gone through it, in Craig Tatum and Taylor Teagarden. I reached out to both of those guys, and they gave me some great confidence going into it that they felt better than they ever felt before coming back.