A week out from leaving a game with soreness in his surgically repaired right elbow, Orioles catcher Matt Wieters is taking live batting practice and said he’s more relieved by the day that the soreness isn’t a symptom of something serious.
“Every day we get better, it’s more and more optimistic,” Wieters said. “I think the key is that as long as we’re going on a path and getting it better each day, we’ll stay on that.”
Manager Buck Showalter said Saturday that Wieters could serve as the designated hitter in some minor league spring games before he's ready to return to catching, which would allow any possible disabled list stint to be back-dated to when he last played a major league game.
That was the first time anyone mentioned Wieters starting the season on the disabled list.
"I hope he’s moving towards the field in a week,” Showalter said. “Who knows? It could be eight days.”
MRIs came back clean, however, and as the soreness dissipated, Wieters has done more and more baseball work.
Wieters hit off a pitching machine Friday, and worked blocking balls in drill work Wednesday. The last baseball activity to test him, and the most important, is throwing, which he didn’t know when would occur.
“Whenever we start throwing, it’ll be another hurdle that I’ll just continue to improve once we do it,” Wieters said.
Earlier this week, Showalter said Wieters came into camp in such good shape, and had prepared so well for the season that he only needed a couple of games to be ready for Opening Day if his elbow cooperated.
“I like to play in as many games as possible, but I felt like I got a lot of action in early, being able to catch six, seven innings a couple games so to have had the games behind there and be in good enough shape, I feel like it won’t take too much,” Wieters said. “At the same time, I’d love to be able to get some timing in and stuff like that. But health is always the most important thing coming out of spring training. Get healthy first, and however many games I can play I’ll play.”