Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Wieters to be called up by Orioles
ESPN.com news services
BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles are readying the welcome mat for their much-talked-about prized prospect.
Matt Wieters, the top prospect in the Orioles' organization, will be promoted from the minor leagues to Baltimore on Friday, team president Andy MacPhail said Tuesday.
Wieters played three years at Georgia Tech before being selected by Baltimore with the fifth overall pick in the 2007 amateur draft. The 6-foot-5, switch-hitting catcher split time between Class-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie last year, and this season was batting .285 with five homers and 26 RBIs with Triple-A Norfolk through Monday.
"He's made the progress, the power's starting to come. ... It's time. It's time," MacPhail said. "He's done what he needed to do at that level. We just wanted to make sure we didn't get into a circumstance where he had to go back [down]. So we're reasonably comfortable that this is a good time for him and we're going to give him a shot."
As if to validate the promotion, Wieters was 4 for 4 with four RBIs through eight innings against Toledo on Tuesday night. It's expected that his presence will push a veteran catcher -- Chad Moeller or Gregg Zaun -- off the roster.
When he arrives in Baltimore, he won't spend too much time on the bench.
"The lineup is up to the manager, but we didn't bring him up here to sit," MacPhail said. "Matt Wieters isn't going to do a lot of sitting. ... He's here to be the catcher. We're comfortable with the timing and we're excited."
Wieters turned 23 last Thursday. After being drafted by the Orioles, negotiations between the team and agent Scott Boras dragged to 10 minutes before baseball's mandated deadline before the sides agreed on a minor league deal with a franchise-record $6 million signing bonus.
The Orioles were determined to show patience in bringing him to the big leagues, but Wieters dominated minor league pitching last year and continued to have success with Norfolk this spring.
Wieters batted a combined .355 with 27 homers and 91 RBIs last season to earn the Brooks Robinson Award as the Orioles' minor league player of the year.
Meanwhile, Orioles right-hander Koji Uehara will probably miss his scheduled start Thursday and could be placed on the 15-day disabled list if his strained left hamstring does not respond to treatment.
Uehara, the first Japanese-born player in Orioles history, left Saturday's game against Washington with hamstring tightness. He played catch and jogged in the outfield Tuesday but was unable to throw on the side and will be put on the DL if it appears he will miss two straight starts.
"I would say right now it is highly doubtful that Koji pitches on Thursday. Now whether or not he goes on the DL, I'm not sure," manager Dave Trembley said. "But I don't know what's going to happen overnight that we'll be able to say he's going to pitch in five more days."
If Uehara misses one start, Trembley can fill Thursday's vacancy with a reliever. If he goes on the DL, the Orioles will probably dip into their minor league system to find a replacement in the rotation.
Also, designated hitter Luke Scott (shoulder strain) could be activated from the DL as soon as Wednesday, Trembley said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.