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Rehabbing Wieters returns to Camden Yards

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Rehabbing Wieters returns to Camden Yards play video for Rehabbing Wieters returns to Camden Yards

BALTIMORE -- Matt Wieters' season is over, but he was back at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Thursday for the first time since having Tommy John surgery in June.

The catcher's return invoked in Buck Showalter the memory of another baseball man who frequently made his return to a familiar clubhouse.

"You always knew when Billy Martin was getting ready to come back to the Yankees, they always said he was tanned and rested," the O's manager said. "I don't know about tanned, but Matt looks great. He's really upbeat about where he is. I think he's excited to be back here. About as excited as we are to have him back here."

Wieters won't be in Baltimore for long -- he's heading to Minneapolis for the All-Star break -- but he expects to be back for a handful of homestands during the remainder of the season.

He wasn't in the clubhouse during its open period to the media before Thursday's series finale against the Nationals, but Showalter said Wieters has been watching games as he recovers at his home in Atlanta.

And that's where Wieters will head back after the All-Star break. The Orioles head out west for more than a week after the break and Wieters' rehab will resume. While he's in Baltimore, though, he serves as a reminder for some positives and negatives for the O's.

The negative is obvious.

"It's just an unfortunate reminder of him not being here," Showalter said. "Not that we've forgotten about him."

But there's still a positive. Caleb Joseph and Nick Hundley haven't been Wieters -- they were never expected to be -- but they have been admirable replacements behind the plate.

Joseph has batted .232 during the past month and leads the Majors with a 52 caught-stealing percentage. Hundley, the better offensive catcher of the two, is batting .242.

With Steve Clevenger and Michael Ohlman also available on the 40-man roster, the Orioles have made due even without their All-Star backstop.

"We went from having some real challenges with that to being four deep," Showalter said. "We went from a challenge to potentially a real strength in our organization with Matt being the lead dog."

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

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