xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Orioles early notes on Hardy, Flaherty and Wieters

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. — Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, who is recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery last June, said he still doesn't know when he will come off the disabled list, but that he's making progress.

"Now it's about getting it right," said Wieters, who was with the club during this weekend's series at Tropicana Field. "I feel like we'll get there, hopefully sooner than later, but like I said, [now] it's about getting it right. I've tried to push it all offseason and [am] trying to get it ready as quick as possible and the biology of my elbow just wouldn't let me get there, so now it's about letting it go at its own pace and try and push where we can and rest where we can, too."

Advertisement

Wieters, who caught five innings in an extended spring training game Saturday in Sarasota, said he still feels some discomfort in his surgically-repaired right elbow, but that is expected.

"It's just going to be a matter of that ligament completely changing all the way and it's going to be a grind through the year, but right now we're just trying to get consistent feeling and being able to recover the next day," he said.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Wieters will have to be able to catch several innings on consecutive days before going on a minor league rehab assignment.

"I think we're going to try to go every other day for a while and be able to give it that rest time," he said. "I think the key is we want to try to get a consistent feeling with the elbow to where we're not going to have ups and downs. I'm going to try to keep expanding the innings and keep moving forward and just see how it goes."

Wieters spent nearly the first four weeks of spring training rehabbing the elbow, but was shut down after his first Grapefruit League start at catcher on March 17.

Wieters likely will catch again either Monday or Tuesday — depending on the Orioles' extended spring training home schedule — and then two days later. He said he's getting enough opportunities to throw out runners because baserunners are aggressive in extended spring. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Wieters' throwing times to second are in the 1.9-second range, near where he was before the injury.

Advertisement

"It's pretty much been about two or three throws a game that will be actual game-action throws, which for five innings can be a lot of throws," Wieters said. "But the volume isn't the problem. It's just the matter of being able to [manage] ... recovery the next day."

If Wieters returns to the Orioles before June 16, one year after the surgery, they will consider that a success.

"It's moving [the right] way," Showalter said. "When he gets to the point where it's not a thought, he's getting closer. I've always said all along, it's not if, it's when. He's still ahead of what's normal — if there is [normal] for what Tommy John guys are — he's still not even a year removed. So, we try to keep that in mind."

Hardy and Flaherty to Bowie

Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy and infielder Ryan Flaherty are both slated to begin their minor-league rehab assignments on Monday for Double-A Bowie.

Both are scheduled to play in the Baysox's night games Monday through Wednesday. Whether they play in Thursday's 11 a.m. game is still being determined. Each player will receive at least three at-bats in each game, possibly more if the games go quickly.

Flaherty, who is on the disabled list with a right groin strain, is eligible to come off the disabled list on Friday. If all goes well, he will join the team Friday at Yankee Stadium.

Showalter said Hardy could also join the Orioles on the team's road trip to New York, but Hardy hasn't faced pitchers in a game in five weeks, so he might need more than three games to get his timing back.

"You can tell there's a look in his eye," Showalter said of Hardy. "I asked him [Sunday], is he scared, excited? And he said, 'No, I'm excited more than anything.' We'll see how long it takes. We're not going to push him. ... We'll give it what it needs."

Both players have 20 days to complete their rehab assignments.

If Flaherty comes off the disabled list later this week, the Orioles would have to create space on the 25-man roster. Utility infielder Rey Navarro would be the most-likely player to be optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.

Hardy's addition creates a more difficult roster decision. Everth Cabrera, who has been starting at shortstop, is still needed as a utility infielder because of the injury to Jonathan Schoop.

Hunter getting back into form

Orioles right-hander Tommy Hunter needed just nine pitches to pitch a perfect top of the seventh inning in Sunday's 4-2 victory and was awarded the win when the Orioles offense scored three runs in the bottom half of the inning.

Sunday's outing marked Hunter's sixth consecutive scoreless appearance. Over that span of 62/3 innings, Hunter has lowered his ERA from 14.73 to 5.79.

"It's just the roller coaster ride that you never seem to hop off," Hunter said. "You get sometimes little bumps, sometimes there's that big first incline at the beginning of the roller coaster and then you just drop off the face of the earth. That's kind of what I felt like after my first couple outings. But now we're on a smoother path right now, so just take it, ride the wave and stay on that son of a [gun] as long as you can."

Around the horn

The Orioles are 4-2 against the Rays this season, with all six games being played in St. Petersburg. … Sunday's win was the Orioles' first this season when the opponent has scored first. The Orioles were 0-8 previously. … The home run allowed by left-hander Wei-Yin Chen to Rays first baseman James Loney was the first he's allowed to a left-handed batter since last July 19, a span of 86 at-bats. … Catcher Caleb Joseph started Sunday afternoon despite playing Saturday night because of Monday's day off and some fast games Friday and Saturday. … Since the weekend's game were technically Orioles home games, the team's players caught the pregame ceremonial first pitch before each game. Ryan Lavarnway did it Friday, Jason Garcia on Saturday and Navarro on Sunday. … Showalter said Triple-A Norfolk left-hander T.J. McFarland's fastball was clocked at 94 mph in his start on Saturday. McFarland allowed two runs — one earned — over 52/3 innings.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement