Wieters eager to take next big step

Wieters eager to take next big step

HOUSTON -- Catcher Matt Wieters will test his ailing right elbow by playing some light catch on Friday in what could potentially be a big step in his recovery.

Friday's session will mark the first time Wieters has thrown in more than three weeks, and noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews has recommended that he not do anything that aggravates the injury, which was classified as discomfort.

"It's gotten a lot better over the last few days, which is what we were waiting on -- waiting for it all to subside, and it's all gotten out," Wieters said. "Now it's just a matter of going through the throwing progression and hopefully, everything keeps getting better."

Wieters last played in a game on May 10 and has not caught a game since May 4, with the initial hope being that he could just serve as designated hitter until the elbow felt better. When the elbow didn't respond as hoped, he was placed on the disabled list and has received an injection of platelet-rich plasma in the area to help spur healing.

Wieters said on Thursday that the big thing right now is to get back on a throwing program, though he isn't sure what Friday's exact plan would be in terms of distance and quantity. But the All-Star, who is hoping to avoid surgery, is encouraged that he's gotten to this point.

"We always had days [where] we wanted to make sure we were progressing more than anything," he said. "Every time you can take the next step forward, it's good. Picking up the ball is our next step forward now."

Manager Buck Showalter won't try to evaluate what Wieters does on Friday, saying he will just listen to what the catcher and trainers say.

"Hopefully, it starts the process of getting a little bit more and a little bit more and getting to the point," Showalter said. "I think we've given it every opportunity to heal itself, so to speak, or scar over. We're hoping that's the case, but we won't really know until probably his third or fourth session, when he kind of starts stretching out a step. Tomorrow's a step. It wouldn't be anything real strenuous tomorrow, I would think."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.