SARASOTA, Fla. -- Matt Wieters could catch in an Orioles intrasquad game -- on March 1 and 2 -- as the backstop has been cleared to do everything but throw full-strength to the bases in his recovery from Tommy John surgery in June.
"We control that," manager Buck Showalter said of the run-game during the team's intrasquad matchups. "I don't want to get to the 17th [of March] and have him catch three innings the first time. I want him to catch, five, six, seven out of the chute. We can do that. We can handle it. Whether it's a 'B' game, intrasquad…we could find games left and right."
Showalter said he probably wouldn't take Wieters to the Orioles first spring game in Lakeland, Fla., but Wieters' legs are built up a lot earlier than they usually are in camp.
"He can throw the ball back to the pitcher [in a game]," Showalter said. "He wants to throw on bunt defense. What he's doing out here right now [on the back fields] he can do in a game."
Wieters isn't cleared to throw full-throttle until March 17, a cautious deadline that Showalter expects will make Wieters pretty anxious when the time finally comes. Wieters, and third baseman Manny Machado, are expected to get a lot of at-bats this spring as they are both coming off season-ending surgeries.