SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) - Matt Wieters returned to catching exactly six months after Tommy John surgery and played six innings in the Baltimore Orioles’ 10-9 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday.
No Minnesota baserunner tried to steal, and Wieters’ only hard throw was a wide toss to first on Josmil Perez’s roller.
Wieters had played six games as a designated hitter. He was hitless in three at-bats, and is now 0 for 23 this spring.
“It wasn’t too productive a day, but it’s good to get back there, and getting behind the plate for the first time is out of the way,” Wieters said. “Now we can get back to what spring training is meant for, and that’s getting ready for the season.”
Manager Buck Showalter isn’t sure when Wieters will be ready to catch consecutive games.
“He’s crossed a lot of barriers,” Showalter said. “It’s been a long road back.”
Wieters felt normal, but isn’t sure when he’ll play next.
“It was really a regular game from the beginning for me. It’s nice to get back out there, but at the same time it was going through the whole regular routine,” Wieters said.
Bud Norris allowed three runs in four innings: a two-run homer by Eduardo Nunez and a solo shot by Trevor Plouffe.
Eduardo Escobar hit a grand slam home run off T.J. McFarland in the sixth to give Minnesota a 10-1 lead.
The Twins’ Phil Hughes gave up just a first inning home run by Chris Davis in four innings.
Twins: RHP Glen Perkins (oblique) threw a bullpen on Tuesday. He’ll pitch an inning in a minor league game on Thursday and should be ready to pitch in a big league exhibition game this weekend. The closer has yet to pitch.
Orioles: INF Ryan Flaherty was hit in the helmet by a pitch in the sixth inning by RHP Brian Duensing and left the game. He was tested for concussion symptoms and will be re-evaluated on Wednesday.
Hughes has allowed five runs in 6 2-3 innings and has begun to use a changeup.
“If it could be another weapon for me that would be great. You get enough people telling you how good it is, you believe anything. Until I start getting some outs with it, that would be the real test,” Hughes said.
Orioles: Norris has allowed 10 runs in 7 2-3 innings in three starts.
“It’s not about the numbers right now. It’s tough, you want to go up there and put up a bunch of zeros but it’s not necessarily your No. 1 priority right now,” Norris said.
MOVING MAUER: Twins 1B Joe Mauer will bat third for the first time this spring training on Wednesday when Minnesota hosts Baltimore. Manager Paul Molitor says Mauer can bat anywhere - as long as he bats in the first inning.
“Joe’s interchangeable from two to three and some people might tell you one,” manager Paul Molitor said. “I’m a little more traditional there. I like on-base (percentage), but I like havoc, too. I like guys who can stir things up.”
Twins: RHP Ervin Santana faces Orioles RHP Ubaldo Jimenez in Fort Myers while five miles away, RHP Mike Pelfrey pitches against Boston’s RHP Rick Porcello in the other half of Minnesota’s split-squad at JetBlue Park. Paul Molitor wants to see Pelfrey pitch, so he’ll manage the away game.
Orioles: Jimenez starts for the fourth time - all on the road. He’s allowed nine runs in 7 1-3 innings.
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