Matt Wieters’ trip to the DL comes at a crucial time for the Baltimore Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles weren’t as active this winter as other American League East teams, yet they’re one of the better-performing squads in baseball so far this season. After seeing the kind of production they’ve gotten from key players, it makes their start more impressive, along with the injury to Matt Wieters even more disappointing.

If someone told manager Buck Showalter his squad would be in first place with a 20-16 record, he'd be ecstatic. He'd also be confused after finding out Manny Machado had suited up for only 11 games, J.J. Hardy owned a .321 slugging percentage, Adam Jones had a .279 on-base percentage and Chris Davis hit just two home runs.

How could Baltimore be in first place without these guys producing like they have in the past?

The acquisition of Nelson Cruz has been very helpful. The right-handed hitter owns a .270/.338/.533 line with 10 home runs and 30 RBI in 137 at-bats. Wieters has also been a crucial piece to the Orioles’ offense while others have struggled.

The 27-year-old catcher has enjoyed a .308/.339/.500 line with five home runs and 18 RBI through his first 104 at-bats. With the lack of production from the rest of the lineup, Wieters’ fast start has been a vital piece toward Baltimore’s success.

He’d been battling a right elbow strain and was limited designated hitter duty before the organization finally put him on the disabled list over the weekend.

Steve Clevenger and Caleb Joseph are expected to shoulder the load with Wieters on the sideline. Clevenger has hit well through 46 at-bats, posting a .304/.360/.522 line. Joseph is getting his first taste of big league action, hitless in his first seven at-bats.

Read the full article at Sports Injury Alert!

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