Originally slated to make his return to the Orioles in Cleveland on Friday, catcher Matt Wieters could be back a day sooner than expected.
Following Sunday’s 9-5 loss to Tampa Bay, manager Buck Showalter confirmed the Orioles had adjusted their plans with Wieters, who is eligible to be activated from the 60-day disabled list on Thursday. Previously scheduled to catch at Single-A Frederick on Monday and at Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday, Wieters will instead catch for Norfolk on Tuesday, the same day Bud Norris will make his final rehab start.
“He’s ready to go, at-bats and everything,” Showalter said. “He needs all the time, but looking forward to getting him on [Thursday] if everything goes well Tuesday. Or [Friday].”
The revamped timing would allow Wieters to join the Orioles in Houston and to serve as the designated hitter in Thursday’s series finale, according to Showalter. It appears to be no coincidence that the club would like to have Wieters work with Norris, whose 2015 woes have carried over into his minor-league rehab assignment where he’s allowed 13 earned runs in 7 2/3 innings. Norris was placed on the 15-day disabled list last month after a nasty bout of bronchitis.
Showalter has said repeatedly that the plan is for Norris to rejoin the starting rotation upon being activated, but rookie Mike Wright has pitched to a 1.40 ERA in his first three major league starts. k
Wieters last played Saturday at Double-A Bowie and appeared in three games for the Baysox, going 2-for-11 with two RBIs and a walk and throwing out the only runner who attempted to steal a base.