The Orioles are in St. Petersburg, Fla. today, and I’ll be joining them later if my 6:15 a.m. flight arrives safely.
Matt Wieters is in Gulf Breeze, Fla., undergoing a second elbow exam by renowned and feared orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
Feared by clubs who send their players to him and brace for the worst possible outcome.
How often is the news good? Wieters was told he didn’t need surgery during his first visit. That’s one.
No one in the organization will be shocked if Andrews decides that Wieters now should undergo season-ending surgery. Manager Buck Showalter can’t bring himself to use the word, but we know what he means.
“That’s another one of those where I know a little bit more than I’m going to talk about, but I don’t want to say something that’s not honest,” Showalter told reporters over the weekend. “He’s still got a chance. I think we’re all curious to see what Dr. Andrews is going to say.
“We’ve got it set up both ways. If he returns to us and gets right back into his program, or proceeds with the other options, which I have trouble saying out loud. There’s really only two options here.”
He’s still got a chance. Doesn’t exactly fill you with optimism.
The Orioles won’t wait long if Andrews recommends surgery. The sooner that Wieters has the procedure, the better his chances of being ready on opening day.
There’s something about Tropicana Field beyond the history of blown saves and marathon games that’s disturbing to the Orioles.
Brian Roberts suffered a hamstring injury last year during the third game of the season. Manny Machado tore the medial patellofemoral ligament in his left knee last September. Wieters visited Andrews last month while the Rays were hosting the Orioles.
Later today, while the Orioles are preparing for another three-game series at The Trop, Wieters will find out whether he’s done playing games this season.
It seems especially cruel for Wieters to be denied at-bats in the dome, where he’s a career .354/.393/.494 hitter with seven doubles, five homers and 16 RBIs in 41 games. He’s a career .336/.386/.561 hitter with 18 doubles, 15 homers and 54 RBIs in 77 games against the Rays.
Wei-Yin Chen gets the ball tonight, and he leads the Orioles with seven wins in nine decisions. He’s 4-1 with a 4.70 ERA in six road starts.
Chen is 3-3 with a 2.86 ERA in nine career starts against the Rays and 1-2 with a 3.07 ERA in five starts at The Trop. He earned the win on April 14 at Camden Yards after allowing one earned run and five hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Ben Zobrist is 10-for-25 (.400) with a home run lifetime against Chen.
Rays starter Jake Odorizzi took the loss on April 16 at Camden Yards after allowing three runs and five hits in five innings.
Nick Markakis is 3-for-4 against Odorizzi. He still needs one more hit to tie Ken Singleton for sixth place on the club’s all-time list with 1,455.