Wondering about Wieters if he isn’t ready to catch (with note)

Has it stopped snowing?

My Southwest flight is listed as questionable. I may need a place to crash, so let me know if you’ve got a spare bedroom or an unoccupied couch.

Whatever happened to the Orioles announcing their minor league staffs? I understand that it’s not the kind of news that keeps fans awake a night, but I’m still waiting to cross it off my list.

Matt_Wieters-sidebar_throwing_out_runner.jpgOne of my goals in spring training is to find out whether the Orioles are willing to let Matt Wieters serve exclusively as the designated hitter if he’s not ready to catch on opening day. I’ve posed the question to manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president Dan Duquette this winter, but I can’t get an answer.

The Orioles didn’t let Wieters DH last season because they decided it would hinder his attempts to rehab his right elbow, which later required surgery. It wasn’t going to benefit him to interrupt his treatments to swing a bat.

Their stance may change this spring if they don’t think the at-bats will negatively affect his elbow. That’s what I want to know.

Wieters could start behind the plate on opening day, serve as the DH or go on the disabled list, backdated as far as Major League Baseball will allow. Those are the three options.

joseph-catching-white-sidebar.jpgThe Orioles will need to carry two other catchers if Wieters remains on the 25-man roster, but isn’t ready to set up behind the plate. Caleb Joseph figures to be one of them, and Showalter would have to decide between Steve Clevenger, J.P. Arencibia, Ryan Lavarnway and Brian Ward.

Nick Hundley isn’t walking through that door. Neither is Javy Lopez or Ramon Hernandez.

Ward is a defensive specialist, which brings tremendous appeal to Showalter. He would be a dark horse candidate. No one is talking about him, but it would be a mistake to dismiss his chances.

Showalter is all about the defense. I’m just not sure about the bass.

Clevenger ended up at Triple-A Norfolk because Showalter preferred the defense provided by Joseph and Hundley. Arencibia is known for his power and little else. Lavarnway won’t win a Gold Glove unless he’s the highest bidder at an auction.

If I’m a catcher in camp, I’m skipping the BP sessions and focusing on my work behind the plate. That’s the way to win a spot on the 25-man roster. A .500 average and tape measure home runs won’t necessarily win you a job.

Carrying the equivalent of a third catcher would complicate Showalter’s roster construction. Who’s the odd man out in this scenario?

For the sake of argument, let’s say that Wieters is the designated hitter, Alejandro De Aza is the left fielder, Travis Snider is the right fielder and Chris Davis is the first baseman after serving the final game of his suspension. Delmon Young and Steve Pearce are extra outfielders and Ryan Flaherty is the utility infielder. The winner of the backup catcher competition completes the four-man bench.

How does David Lough fit into this equation?

There’s no way that Young and Pearce fail to make the club, and Showalter needs a utility infielder and backup catcher. Flaherty isn’t a lock - Paul Janish is considered a plus defender at shortstop and he’s spent parts of six seasons in the majors - but he’s the favorite heading into camp.

Of course, we’re getting way ahead of ourselves here with so many weeks remaining before the April 6 opener at Tropicana Field, but it gives us something else to talk about as the snow continues to fall and I try to get to the airport in one piece.

Note: The Orioles and 105.7 The Fan (WJZ-FM), the flagship station of the Orioles Radio Network, have announced a change in the spring training radio broadcast schedule. The March 8 game against the Twins at 1:05 p.m. will replace the March 14 game against the Rays.

The March 14 game will still be televised by MASN as part of its seven-game television broadcast schedule.

The complete schedule of spring training games to be carried live on 105.7 The Fan is below (all times ET):

* Wednesday, March 4, Detroit Tigers, 1:05 p.m.
* Saturday, March 7, Boston Red Sox, 1:05 p.m.
* Sunday, March 8, at Minnesota Twins, 1:05 p.m.
* Wednesday, March 11, Toronto Blue Jays, 1:05 p.m.
* Sunday, March 15, at Pittsburgh Pirates, 1:05 p.m.
* Saturday, March 21, at Minnesota Twins, 1:05 p.m.
* Sunday, March 22, St. Louis Cardinals, 1:05 p.m.
* Saturday, March 28, at New York Yankees, 1:05 p.m.
* Sunday, March 29, Minnesota Twins, 1:05 p.m.
* Wednesday, April 1, Pittsburgh Pirates, 7:05 p.m.**
* Friday, April 3, Atlanta Braves, 6:05 p.m.**
* Saturday, April 4, at Atlanta Braves, 3:05 p.m.**

** Includes 30-minute pregame and postgame shows.

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