Tsuyoshi Wada not expected back from Tommy John surgery until May or June

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Tsuyoshi Wada signed a two-year, $8.15 million contract with the Orioles last offseason, but he didn’t throw a pitch for the club in 2012 because he required Tommy John surgery in May. And now his recovery is expected to stretch into the 2013 season.

According to Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports, Orioles pitching coach Rick Adair said on WBAL radio today that Wada is not expected to be ready to pitch in the majors until May or June. That would put him around one year removed from surgery, which isn’t out of the ordinary.

Wada, who turns 32 next month, had a dominant 1.51 ERA and 168/40 K/BB ratio over 184 2/3 innings in 2011 for the Softbank Hawks of Japan’s Pacific League. Checking in at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, the southpaw doesn’t throw particularly hard and relies on deception and command of his three secondary pitches to get outs. It’s not clear whether the Orioles intend to bring him back as a starter or a reliever.

Martin Maldonado and Willson Contreras say they’re willing to pay fines rather than follow new mound visit rule

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On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.

Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.

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Update (4:43 PM ET): In response to this, Manfred said that if a catcher or coach made a seventh mound visit, there would have to be a pitching change (via Fletcher). However, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said (via SB Nation’s Eric Stephen) that the seventh visit cannot trigger a pitching change. The umpire would simply have to prevent the seventh mound visit.