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Wieters on track for full clearance in March

Last step for Orioles catcher is throwing full-throttle to bases; Opening Day in sight

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Matt Wieters joked Friday morning that he's going to limit the number of interviews he gives this spring. It may not be such a bad idea, as the All-Star catcher, who is coming off season-ending Tommy John surgery in June, will have every step of camp chronicled as he tries to get ready for the start of the season.

Wieters won't be cleared to throw full-throttle to the bases until at least March 17.

"There's still a lot of ifs," said Wieters of Opening Day. "God-willing, everything will keep going how it's going and keep progressing. We'll [have] two weeks for being behind the plate, especially if I've been able to hit and been able to really catch, other than throw. It should be plenty of time if we can get those two weeks in before Opening Day. This whole year is going to be a matter of how the body feels. It's a surgery I've never gone through, and not many catchers have, so it's going to be seeing how the body feels and go from there."

Wieters threw back-to-back days, reaching up to 120 feet-plus, and took Friday off as a result. He said his arm feels great and he wants to do everything possible to make sure his body is ready for the grind of a 162-game season.

"I think I've been looking forward to this spring more than any other spring," Wieters said. "Just being able to go out there and play."

Wieters, who was on pace for a career offensive year in 2014, underwent surgery on June 17. Exactly nine months later, he's set to be cleared to throw out baserunners by the surgeon who performed the procedure, Dr. James Andrews.

"Nine months was our best-case scenario when we first did it," Wieters said. "So far, everything has fortunately gone well enough to where nine months is still our goal."  

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli.
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