Baltimore Orioles fans can breath a big sigh of relief. According to the Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly, O's catcher Matt Wieters' ailing elbow will not require surgery, a huge break for a team currently sitting atop a tightly packed AL East.
Wieters, who is off to a hot start this season with a .337/.372/.570 slash line through 94 plate appearances, has been a key component of a Baltimore lineup that recently saw the return of third baseman Manny Machado. With Steve Clevenger and his .269 career OBP standing as the only viable replacement option at catcher, it goes without saying that the Orioles are thrilled to keep their starting catcher in the lineup.
According to Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan, Wieters' flexor mass has been giving him trouble, which is quite a bit different than the ulnar collateral ligament that some feared was causing Witers' discomfort. After visiting Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday (words no Orioles fan wanted to hear), Wieters found that he wouldn't require surgery, thus saving him from a potential season-ending injury.
Even with the good news, Wieters isn't quite out of the water just yet. It's clear that his arm has bothered him for much of the season, at least since the latter half of April, which means the Orioles could be without one of their best defensive players during the time it takes Wieters to heal.
The most likely scenario would be for manager Buck Showalter to give Wieters some time as a DH to allow his arm to rest up a bit. The Orioles catcher has thrown out just one baserunner in 11 attempts this season, and it doesn't take a genius to see the correlation. Wieters has been an All-Star catcher multiple times in his career, almost entirely because of his defensive prowess, which makes his poor success rate easily attributable to his elbow woes.
Perhaps most importantly, Wieters' surgery evasion allows to stay in the lineup, a huge positive for a player who is finally fulfilling the once promising offensive potential he was thought to possess but was never quite able to show up until this year.