With the way elbows are being reconstructed this season in MLB, just hearing the name Dr. James Andrews is enough to convince a baseball fan that a Tommy John surgery is looming.
Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters visited Andrews, the famed sports surgeon, on Wednesday to get an opinion about his sore elbow. This news — first reported by Yahoo Sports' own Jeff Passan — raised plenty of eyebrows among Orioles fans, who watched their team creep into a first place tie in the AL East with the New York Yankees this week.
Here's good news of them: Wieters doesn't need Tommy John surgery, bucking the unfortunate trend of spring 2014.
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
Wieters likely will rest some more before catching again. But it is believed he should be able to DH during that time.— Dan Connolly (@danconnollysun) May 7, 2014
Connolly goes on to say that Wieters should avoid the disabled list, which is great news for the Orioles offense. Despite their 16-14 records, the O's have a -4 run differential and they're already missing slugger Chris Davis. Wieters is hitting .337, the best average in the starting lineup, with five homers and 18 RBIs.
Had Wieters required surgery — or should he in the future — he'll miss a good amount of time, but not as much as the traditional 12 months that pitchers need to recover from Tommy John surgery. Position players generally return in about eight months.
Wieters, 27, will be a free agent at the end of the 2015 season and looks to be in for a big payday considering he's one of the better defensive catchers in the league and his hitting might finally be coming around to the level the Orioles hoped when they drafted him fifth overall in 2007.
Avoiding Tommy John surgery is not only good news for the Orioles and their playoff hopes, but Wieters' bank account too.
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