The Orioles won their first game of the spring on Saturday, but with the victory came concerning news about their starting catcher.
Just 21 months removed from Tommy John surgery, Matt Wieters left the 8-1 win over Minnesota with what the club described as right elbow soreness. The 29-year-old felt discomfort attempting to throw out Eduardo Nunez trying to steal in the top of the first and was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the inning.
Manager Buck Showalter told reporters in Sarasota that X-rays did not reveal any concerns, and Wieters will be reevaluated over the next couple days.
“Doctors examined him and everything, and we’ll see,” Showalter said. “I think everybody gets alarmed because of, rightfully so, with the surgery there. Hopefully, it’ll manage and be OK.”
For now, the Orioles remain hopeful that Wieters is merely experiencing soreness that many catchers do at this point in spring training. However, it’s worth noting that Wieters caught consecutive games for the first time this spring earlier in the week, and the three-time All-Star selection caught on consecutive days just five times last season after returning to action in early June.
Though he was set to become a free agent last November, Wieters accepted the Orioles’ $15.8 million qualifying offer for the 2016 season.
Backup catcher Caleb Joseph was already scheduled to start on Sunday after missing a few days due to illness. He would serve as the starter should Wieters miss extensive action.