ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Catcher Matt Wieters underwent successful Tommy John elbow ligament reconstruction surgery, performed by renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Gulf Breeze, on Tuesday afternoon.
Wieters will miss the rest of this season, but the Orioles are hopeful he will be ready to return by Opening Day next year. A position player’s estimated recovery time from the surgery is nine months.
In the procedure, the palmaris longus tendon on the palm side of his right wrist was removed to reconstruct the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. A nerve in his elbow that had caused tingling also was transposed and a bone spur was shaved off.
“It was pretty normal for what they do with all of them,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said before Tuesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. “If you’re that far along with the injury to the ligament, you usually have a spur, because the body does [it] to cover for it. He was real pleased with it.”
The Orioles previously had hoped that Wieters, who has been on the disabled list since May 11, could rejoin the team down the stretch, but Andrews recommended surgery during a follow-up appointment Monday.
Wieters remained in Gulf Breeze on Tuesday night, and he likely will fly Wednesday to his home in Atlanta, where he will begin introductory stages of his rehabilitation process almost immediately, Showalter said.
“They start the rehab, they get it going right away,” Showalter said. “He’ll start some form of it right away in Atlanta.”
In order to make room on the active roster for right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list and started Tuesday’s game, the club designated right-handed reliever Josh Stinson for assignment.
Stinson’s contract was purchased June 9 from Triple-A Norfolk, and he made just one appearance since rejoining the club. He threw 12/3 perfect innings in a 4-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday.
The Orioles haven’t had to use Stinson, who has been utilized in a long relief role, recently because the starting rotation had recorded eight straight quality starts going into Tuesday night’s game.
Because Stinson is out of minor league options, he first must clear waivers before he can be outrighted to Norfolk. The club has a 10-day window in which it must trade, release or outright Stinson.
Stinson made the Orioles out of spring training, but he was designated and outrighted to Norfolk on May 1 after posting a 7.15 ERA in his first seven appearances.
Gonzalez missed two starts with a right oblique strain. He was pitching well before going on the DL, posting four straight quality starts and allowing three or fewer earned runs in nine of his 10 starts overall.
Around the horn
Low-A Delmarva right-hander Hunter Harvey started for the Northern Division team in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game in Hickory, N.C., on Tuesday. He pitched a scoreless inning, allowing a leadoff double and walking the next batter before recording three straight outs. Right fielder Mike Yastrzemski and third baseman Drew Dosch also started for the Shorebirds in the game. … High-A Frederick's Glynn Davis was 0-for-2 with an RBI for the Carolina League in the California League-Carolina League All-Star Game in Wilmington, Del., on Tuesday. Right-hander Branden Kline pitched a scoreless inning in the game. … Infielder Michael Almanzar, the club's Rule 5 selection in December who is on the disabled list with a knee injury, will begin playing in Rookie-level Gulf Coast League games Friday. … Showalter said he dropped third baseman Manny Machado back to seventh in the batting order Tuesday to give the bottom third of the lineup a jolt. Steve Pearce batted in Machado's regular No. 2 spot. After going 1-for-4 on Tuesday, Machado is hitting .280 in the No. 7 spot this season, compared with .226 in the second spot. “You're trying to present some challenges all the way through the batting order,” Showalter said.