The Baltimore Orioles and catcher Matt Wieters were hoping for the best, but were prepared for the worst.
The news Monday wasn't good. Wieters, who hasn't played since May 10, had an MRI on his injured elbow and it indicated that things weren't getting any better, so he's elected to have Tommy John surgery. Wieters is out for the rest of the season, but the Orioles expect him to be ready for 2015.
Pitchers are usually the ones who need Tommy John surgery, but it's not exclusively a pitcher's injury. Wieters felt forearm discomfort making a throw to second base in April. That eventually lead to an injured elbow. There was hope that Wieters could at least DH while his elbow rested, but that hasn't worked out either. Surgery, it turned out, was the best option. Rehab time for position players is generally nine months. Wieters will have surgery Tuesday.
Without Wieters, the team is 15-19 since May 10, but is still in second place in the AL East. The Orioles acquired catcher Nick Hundley from the San Diego Padres on May 24, feeling the need to thicken their options behind the plate.
While we're all aware of the long list of pitchers who have undergone Tommy John surgery this season, Wieters is the first big-league position player of the 48 known surgeries since February. He's the fourth overall position player between the majors and the minors. Minnesota Twins hot-shot prospect Miguel Sano, a third baseman, notably had Tommy John surgery this spring.
Making Wieters' situation a bit more interesting is that he's a free agent after 2015. Before elbow surgery, he and agent Scott Boras were looking forward to a big payday. What becomes of Wieters for 2016 and beyond now has a lot riding on his elbow, his surgery and his rehab.
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