Wieters optimistic he'll be ready for Opening Day

Wieters optimistic he'll be ready for Opening Day

ST. PETERSBURG -- Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, a day removed from season-ending Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, said in a telephone interview Wednesday he plans on being with the team for the final two months and is optimistic about being ready for 2015's Opening Day.

"I feel good, everything they got, surgery went well," said Wieters, who had the procedure performed by Dr. James Andrews in Gulf Breeze, Fla. "And hopefully we will get all the soreness out of here in a couple days and get going on the rehab."

In the immediate future, Wieters will head to his offseason home in Atlanta, Ga. and start on some very minimal early rehab. The All-Star --who traveled with the team even when he was on the disabled list -- said he expected to be with Baltimore for August and September.

"It's going to be real hard [to be away] and that's why the plan all along was to be around the team as much as possible, and for me it will help give peace of mind in keeping in touch with the guys every day and being able to help out when I can," Wieters said. "It's something that's a new experience for me, and it's something I'm going to have to go through every step by step and make decisions on what's best for the arm and what's best for the team the whole way around."

Wieters, who was on track for a career year offensively, last played for the Orioles on May 10. He last caught on May 4, and the team initially tried to use him just as a designated hitter before he was placed on the DL. From there, he saw Andrews and was optimistic he could avoid surgery with rest and rehab.

"Once we started a couple throwing sessions in and it was still feeling like it was before, it was a sign that we weren't quite happy with where it was," said Wieters, who saw Andrews for a follow-up again Monday, which is when he decided to go ahead with surgery.

"We were hoping it was going to be almost completely gone when we started throwing again. But it's something to where we always knew it was a possibility and we just didn't want to go through piecing it together for a month or so when it was inevitable and then we cost ourselves some time the following year."

Wieters, who has been helping the team's catchers -- Caleb Joseph and Nick Hundley -- was given a nine-month timetable, which should have him back for the start of next season.

"That's the plan," he said. "Its something where they can't give you any guarantees. It's still Tommy John and it's going to be nine to 12 months before you're going to be back, but the plan is hopefully if all the rehab goes well, we'll be ready to go right around Opening Day."

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.