Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters will play light catch on Friday, according to MLB.com for the first time since Dr. James Andrews shut him down three weeks ago in an attempt for the All-Star catcher to avoid Tommy John surgery.
Wieters, 23, has not appeared in a game since May 10 and hasn’t been behind the plate since May 4 as the Orioles hoped their catcher could serve as the team’s designated hitter in a means to alleviate the strain on his elbow.
With his elbow not responding to treatment, the club placed him on the 15-day disabled list so he could rest. Wieters also received a platelet-rich plasma (prp) injection to serve as a catalyst for healing.
Wieters, a two-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner was off to his best start of his career before being sidelined with the injury. He is batting .308, 51 points above his career average, with five home runs and 18 runs batted in 104 at bats.
With the return of Wieters a major question mark, the Orioles traded for catcher Nick Hundley on Saturday as an insurance policy to start over backup Caleb Joseph in the event that Wieters is out for the remainder of the season if his elbow does not respond to rest and treatment.
This season has already seen a startling number of pitchers undergoing Tommy John surgery, so for the sake of Wieters, the Orioles and their fans, hopefully Wieters will avoid having to go under the knife and can return to the lineup with enough time to make an impact in the postseason race.
The Orioles entered Thursday’s action with a 26-25 record which puts them 4.5 games back of the Toronto Blue Jays in the always competitive American League East.