On Tuesday, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported that Matt Wieters would be visiting Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday due to soreness in his right elbow. The worst-case scenario would be that the Baltimore Orioles’ All-Star catcher has a UCL tear, which would require Tommy John Surgery.
Wieters is having a breakout season at the plate. In 86 at-bats coming into Tuesday night’s game, he was hitting .337 with five home runs and 18 RBIs. Wieters was finally showing the kind of production at the plate that was expected of him when he was drafted fifth overall back in 2007.
Behind the plate, the two-time Gold Glove award winner hasn’t looked like himself this season. Wieters has been so good at throwing runners out in his career that Baltimore fans say the phrase “Don’t. Run. Ever.” whenever Wieters catches someone stealing. However, in 2014, fans haven’t been able to say that phrase often. Wieters has caught just one runner stealing while allowing 11 to reach safely.
Regardless of whether or not Wieters has been hampered behind the plate due to an elbow injury, he should elect to have surgery done right away if he needs it.
Technically, Wieters could play out the 2014 season strictly as the team’s DH and have the operation done in the offseason, but that would create more problems than it would solve. First of all, if Wieters were to have the operation done now, his recovery time would be much better. Delaying the surgery could even cause Wieters to miss part of the 2015 season.
Secondly, if Wieters were to become the everyday designated hitter, that would really limit what Buck Showalter could do with his lineup. Showalter is one of those managers who likes to have the DH role open to cycle players in and out depending on the matchups. Not to mention, there’s no guarantee that Wieters would continue raking the ball like he is right now.
Baltimore didn’t rush Manny Machado back from his injury. The Orioles should do the exact same thing with Wieters, regardless of the severity of his injury.