Matt Wieters suffered a laceration on his left forearm in a household accident this winter that set the veteran catcher’s preparation for the 2017 campaign back.
Wieters, 30, signed a 1-year/$10.5M free agent deal with the Washington Nationals in mid-February, but the veteran catcher had some catching up to do before he was set to take the field in Grapefruit League action.
"I'm glad he's getting on the field so we can make an evaluation," Dusty Baker told reporters, including MLB.com’s Steve Dorsey, this week.
"I haven't seen him much. I know he's a smart man. We put him on an accelerated program to learn pitchers and the league."
Wieters is coming off a .243/.302/.409, 17 double, 17 home run, 1.7 fWAR campaign in his eighth season with the Baltimore Orioles, who drafted him in the 1st Round of the 2007 Draft.
He’ll take the field for the first time in competitive action for another team today when the Nationals take on the Houston Astros in Grapefruit League action.
Joe Ross will work with Wieters this afternoon in the 23-year-old right-hander’s third start of the Spring.
In his first two outings, Ross has allowed four hits, a walk and two earned runs, striking out four and holding opposing hitters to a combined .222 AVG.
Last time out, he gave up two home runs early in his 2 2⁄3-inning outing against the Boston Red Sox.
He talked to reporters afterwards about trying to work a four-seam fastball into the mix along with is sinker and slider, with mixed results.
“When he’s out there, he’s working on a couple things,” Nationals’ Pitching Coach Mike Maddux said during an in-game interview on MASN’s broadcast, “and he’s got a couple inconsistencies in his delivery right now that we’ve got to touch up on the side.”
How will Wieters look in his Spring debut? Will Ross have better command of the four-seamer this time out? Find out at 1:05 PM EDT on MASN.
Here’s the lineup that will be back Ross up in The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches:
(But here's the actual lineup too:) pic.twitter.com/1gOET8vDJl— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 12, 2017
NOTE: Today’s game is available on MASN and 106.7 the FAN in D.C. at 1:05 PM EDT from the Nationals and Astros’ shared Spring home in West Palm Beach, FL.