Orioles beat writer Eduardo A. Encina talks about the teams decision to shut down catcher Matt Wieters with elbow tendinitis. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
FORT MYERS, FLA. — Orioles manager Buck Showalter said his tentative plan to use Matt Wieters as a designated hitter on Sunday won't happen, simply because he wants to give Wieters a little more time to rest his surgically repaired right elbow.
Wieters has been temporarily shelved while he deals with tendinitis. His status for Opening Day remains in jeopardy, but Showalter reiterated Friday that he is not ruling out his All-Star catcher.
"I just rather it all quiet down, it's not worth it," Showalter said of playing him Sunday. "We've got to start looking at this thing as week to week instead of day-to-day. I don't think it is healthy for Matt's mentality because he is such a pleaser. It will happen at some point."
After experiencing soreness following his first game behind the plate of the spring Tuesday, the plan was for Wieters not to catch until at least this coming Wednesday – to give him a week of rest from throwing. Now he won't play at all until Wednesday.
That gives Wieters, who is 0-for-23 at the plate this spring, only 11 days to be prepared for Opening Day after Wednesday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays – if he indeed plays in that one.
So would it be prudent to assume he won't be ready for the start of the season?
"Not yet. I'm not going down that road," Showalter said.
Showalter said the club's orthopedist, Michael Jacobs, will examine Wieters at some point this weekend. Jacobs is expected to arrive in Sarasota on Friday night, weather permitting, and he will be examining others besides Wieters, Showalter said.
The Orioles are expected to make some cuts after the game, but Showalter told reporters about one this afternoon. The club optioned right-hander Mike Wright to Triple-A Norfolk. Showalter said he met briefly with Wright on Friday, and he will sit down with him again Saturday to have a lengthier conversation.
Wright, the organization's eighth-ranked prospect by Baseball America, allowed two runs in seven innings this spring and showed the Orioles he could be an option this summer in the bullpen if there's no spot for him in the rotation.
"Good. Real good," Showalter said of Wright's spring performance, which included just one walk and eight strikeouts. "He has presented himself as a viable option for us in two different roles. He kind of followed where he was at the end of last season."
Outfielder Alejandro De Aza, who went to the Dominican Republic to celebrate his grandfather's 99th birthday, is expected to return to Sarasota on Friday night. Showalter is undecided as to whether he'll play De Aza Saturday in Fort Myers or Sunday in Sarasota. ... Outfielder Adam Jones, third baseman Manny Machado and DH Delmon Young will all go on the road Saturday and play against the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers. ... Pitching coach Dave Wallace did not join the team in Fort Myers on Friday. He stayed back to watch Wei-Yin Chen and Kevin Gausman pitch in minor league games. Bullpen coach Dom Chiti, along with minor league pitching coaches Mike Griffin and Alan Mills, handled pitching coach duties at Fort Myers. ... Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez will make his next spring start Tuesday at the Pittsburgh Pirates. ... Right-hander Chris Tillman will make his next scheduled start Tuesday in a minor league game. The team hopes to give most of its players off on Monday – which is the lone scheduled off day of the spring season.