Matt Wieters to take time off for more elbow problems

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UPDATE: An MRI exam showed no structural damage in Wieters’ surgically repaired elbow, so the Orioles will hope a little time off does the trick.

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Uh oh. Matt Wieters‘ elbow soreness has lingered long enough that the Orioles sent him to undergo an MRI exam, with Richard Justice of MLB.com reporting that the three-time All-Star catcher has already been told “a period of rest” is needed at the very least.

Elbow problems are worrisome for any catcher, but particularly with Wieters because he missed most of 2014 and a big chunk of 2015 following Tommy John surgery.

Wieters also bypassed the potential for multi-year offers as a free agent to return to the Orioles via the one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer, clearly hoping that a healthy, productive 2016 season would lead to an even bigger payday next offseason.

In other words, both Wieters and the Orioles have a lot riding on the results of his MRI exam.

Cardinals tab Miles Mikolas for Opening Day start

Miles Mikolas
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The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.

The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.

Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.