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Orioles catcher Matt Wieters expected to open season on disabled list

Buck Showalter said on Saturday afternoon that catcher Matt Wieters is unlikely to begin the season on the Orioles roster.

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters on Saturday that he thinks it's "unlikely" that catcher Matt Wieters will be able to open up the season on the active roster. After Wieters was shut down with elbow tendinitis earlier in the week, the announcement doesn't come as a surprise. It's still the first time the club has acknowledged Wieters opening up the season on the disabled list as the most likely possibility.

Placing Wieters on the disabled list wouldn't mean that he would miss the first 15 days of the season. The Orioles can place him on the DL retroactive to a date in spring training, which would mean that he could be eligible to come off the DL as soon as the fifth game of the season, if he was ready. That's the first Saturday of the season, the day of the second game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

What about using Wieters as a designated hitter until his elbow is well enough? Showalter told reporters that he did not believe that would help the recovery process any. That could well be true, though it seems that Wieters' agent Scott Boras does not think so.

The issue with the Orioles carrying Wieters as a DH only is that they won't want to set their roster for that contingency, even if it's just for a few games. They've been assembling a roster to set things up a certain way, probably with two reserve outfielders, a reserve infielder and a backup catcher. Wieters on the roster but not as a catcher would come at the expense of one of those reserves.

Of the outfielders who figure to be on the roster, none of them are players they could option and call right back. Wieters on the roster would probably mean one of those players has to be exposed to waivers.

On the other hand, if Wieters starts the season on the disabled list, that means they can still carry just two catchers, and when Wieters is ready they can activate him and option or release the catcher they like the least. You don't have to look very hard to figure out which of these two choices is the more Dan Duquette choice.