Matt Wieters had ligament-reconstructive surgery on his right elbow on June 17 in Gulf Breeze, Fla. Yesterday, he rejoined his teammates in the Orioles clubhouse and today he updated reporters on his recovery.
“It’s a long process. Surgery went well,” Wieters said. “Now it’s about going through the steps of doing what you can each day and keep progressing. It’s not a two-week rehab, it’s a nine-month rehab and you have to have the end goal in mind. Right now we’re just working on getting the mobility and flexibility back and getting the swelling out, which is the most important thing.”
Wieters said he researched the process of Tommy John surgery for position players, particularly catchers, and spoke to a pair of former Orioles catchers who had the procedure.
“When the decision was being made, I took a lot of time,” Wieters said. “Two of my backups here had both gone through it, Craig Tatum and Taylor Teagarden. Reached out to both of those guys and they gave me some great confidence going into it. Both said they felt better than they ever felt before after coming back.”
It was pretty clear that Wieters has missed being around his teammates.
“Yeah, good to see the guys,” he said. “Watching at home is not the same. Champing at the bit to be able to get back and see these guys. Try to help out these guys any way I can. If it’s just a little, it is worth it to help these guys any way I can.
“It’s a great clubhouse. We’ve always loved every guy that has been in this clubhouse. Even though I’m hurt, still feel like I’m part of the team with these guys.”
Wieters has enjoyed watching an O’s team that has moved into first place.
“It’s great. It makes it a lot easier to see how well they are playing,” Wieters said. “Feel like everything is rolling together right now. Caleb and Nick are doing a great job behind the plate. Makes it a lot easier to watch from home.
“As well as they’re playing, I just kind of shoot them a text and let them know they’re doing well. I always tried to leave it open where, if they want to come talk to me, I want to be as open as I can, but as long as they are playing well and the team is rolling, I just try to stay out of the way when it’s going well.”
At the same time, he’s missing out on being part of a team making a playoff push.
“That is the main reason I want to be here. I want to be a part of it,” he said. “I feel like this team is a special team and has a chance. So it’s something that’s fun to be a part of.”
Wieters played in just 26 games this year and hasn’t played since May 10. But he was voted to start in the All-Star Game. He can’t play, obviously, but he will attend the game and be a part of the festivities next week in Minnesota.
“The All-Star Game might be easier than the regular season,” Wieters said. “Get to watch some of the fun things going on. Get to watch Jonesey (Adam Jones) and Nelson (Cruz) play and the Home Run Derby. I’ll have a great seat as a fan more than anything.
“It’s a huge honor. It speaks for how good Oriole fans are and how well they got out to the polls so called and voted. Jonesey is the main reason why I was able to get. He was fighting for that last spot and him being able to get in kind of carried me with him.”
A reporter joked that with the O’s fans supporting him so well in the voting he needs to return the favor and sign a long-term contract with the team.
“I’m more worried about rehabbing first,” Wieters said laughing. “Hopefully, we’ll be ready to go opening day next year.”