Matt Wieters likely to begin season on disabled list

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Matt Wieters came down with some tendinitis in his right elbow earlier this week after catching in a game for the first time since Tommy John surgery and now he’s essentially been ruled out for the start of the season.

According to Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com, Orioles manager Buck Showalter conceded today that Wieters is likely to begin the season on the disabled list. He doesn’t want to carry Wieters as a designated hitter if he can’t catch, so they aren’t going to rush his recovery. He’s nine months removed from the surgery right now, so Showalter still thinks he’s “on if not ahead of schedule.” He’ll be eligible to be activated as soon as soon as April 11.

This is a big year for Wieters, who is eligible to become a free agent this winter. Making sure that elbow is right before he returns is the top priority for both him and the Orioles. Caleb Joseph will likely open the season as the starting catcher while Steve Clevenger, J.P. Arencibia, and Ryan Lavarnway are candidates for the backup job.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.