Matt Wieters was set to visit Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday afternoon. This is a dreaded prospect for a player on your favorite team, given that most of the time they go, it means Tommy John surgery and a lost year. The Orioles confirmed on Tuesday that Wieters would be visiting Andrews. You had to fear the worst. However, the first reports are in and maybe it's not all that bad:
Matt Wieters elbow MRI has been reviewed by Dr. James Andrews and he's is not considered a candidate for surgery, according to a source— Dan Connolly (@danconnollysun) May 7, 2014
According to Connolly, it looks like the Orioles will employ Wieters as the designated hitter while allowing him to rest the elbow and they expect him to resume catching after some unspecified period of DH-only rest.
Wieters served as the Orioles DH on Tuesday night and had a two-hit game. Whatever injury has affected the elbow, which Connolly suggested might have been something lingering from when he pitched in college, it doesn't keep him from swinging a bat.
Tuesday night, Norfolk catcher Caleb Joseph was scratched from the lineup and is believed to be headed to join the team in Tampa. If they decide to activate Joseph, that would suggest they don't expect Wieters back behind the plate in a day or two. With Steve Clevenger as the only other catcher on the 25- or 40-man rosters, the O's would be taking a risk every game. One foul tip off Clevenger's hand and they would be in dire straits.
With Joseph on the bench, even if he doesn't play much, they're protected from having to press Ryan Flaherty or whoever might be the emergency catcher into duty. There is a spot on the 40-man roster thanks to the Orioles outrighting David Adams over the weekend, but someone would have to come off the 25-man roster.
If Wieters is going to be the DH, that will push Nelson Cruz into the outfield regularly. The most redundant player in that scenario seems to be Delmon Young, who has not performed terribly at all, but it's hard to see how he fits on a roster where he only plays once or twice a week at most. If they think Wieters only needs a couple of days to rest the elbow, they might roll the dice with Clevenger as the only healthy catcher.