Wieters set to debut for O's next Friday

Catcher will complete rehab assignment during the week before '15 debut

Wieters set to debut for O's next Friday

BALTIMORE -- Orioles catcher Matt Wieters is slated to make his season debut next Friday in Cleveland, as the three-time American League All-Star backstop makes his first Major League appearance in more than a year.

Wieters, who has been working his way back from Tommy John surgery last June, started his rehab assignment earlier this week and has been catching every other day. That will also be the plan, at least initially, when he rejoins Baltimore as Wieters works through the last bit of soreness on days between starts.

O's manager Buck Showalter said he spoke with Wieters and got a good idea of where the catcher will be physically when he returns.

"Say the second catcher [starting in a game] we want to pinch-hit or pinch-run for, Matt will be OK to finish that game," Showalter said. "His physical status will not require us to carry three catchers, unless we want to."

Wieters, who last caught for the O's on May 4, 2014, will play for Double-A Bowie on Saturday, Class A Advanced Frederick on Monday and Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday. He will travel Thursday to meet the team in Cleveland and is expected to start Friday's series opener.

Right now, the O's have two catchers on the roster in Caleb Joseph and Steve Clevenger. Joseph was the O's Opening Day catcher and figures to split duties while Wieters is worked back in.

Closely monitoring Wieters this spring, the Orioles were optimistic he could be ready by the season's opener. But the catcher felt soreness in his first spring start on March 17, and he was subsequently shut down. He has been brought along slowly since then and spent the majority of the past two months in extended spring camp before Tuesday's rehab debut.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.