Orioles can't wait for Wada to show off

Orioles can't wait for Wada to show off
January 4, 2013, 12:30 pm

Last spring training, signs of Tsuyoshi Wada were everywhere. There were the requisite reporters from Japan, a former scout serving as his translator and tons of intrigue.

Early in spring training, Wada’s elbow started hurting, so he stopped throwing. This was a big story in Japan, so questions were asked every day.

Finally, Wada threw in an exhibition game in Lake Buena Vista against Atlanta, and near the end of spring training, one in Sarasota.

As the Orioles broke came a few days later, the decision was made to keep Wada behind in extended spring training before bringing him to Baltimore.

Later in April, Wada pitched in a Triple-A game, but came away with more pain, and after some examinations, it was decided that he’d need Tommy John surgery.

The Orioles’ big off-season signing missed 2012, but now there’s word that his rehab is going well.

He met up with the team during the last series of the regular season at Tampa Bay, and said he was ahead of schedule. The Orioles are hoping that’s true.

Wada was signed to a two-year, $8.15 million contract in Dec. 2011. The Orioles are hoping for some production in the final year of the contract.

If all goes well, Wada will be the team’s fifth starter. He was a starter in Japan. In nine seasons, he was 107-61 with a 3.13 ERA, and his last two in Japan were his best. In 2010 and 2011, Wada was 33-13. In 2011, he had a sparkling 1.51 ERA.

The left-hander, who’ll be 32 early in spring training, could pitch out of the bullpen, too. There was some thought early last year that he might, but the team’s bullpen looks more settled at the moment thann the starting rotation.

Wada underwent surgery on May 11, and a year’s rehab is considered the norm. It’s possible that he won’t pitch in any spring training games, and certainly not in the first few weeks of camp.

It’s likely that Wada will be carefully monitored and pitch in some later minor league exhibition games as he did last year. If he stays back in Sarasota.

If Wada joins the Orioles in early or mid-May, he could still be a major contributor.

NOTES:

-Manager Buck Showalter is meeting with owner Peter Angelos to discuss a contract extension on Friday, MASNsports.com reported. Showalter said late last month that he expected an agreement on an extension in January.

-Mike Constanzo has signed a minor league deal with the Nationals. Constanzo, who was obtained from Houston in the Miguel Tejada trade five years ago, was the only one of the five players obtained, who never played for the Orioles. He was 1-for-18 for Cincinnati last season.