Apparently, the only thing that can stop Matt Wieters is the weather. Baltimore’s game against Detroit appears to be subject to a steady downpour, a rainstorm that seems destined to at least delay the start of the game. The tarp has been on the field at Camden Yards for much of the pregame hours, and the scheduled start-time is only 11 minutes away.
Stratford High School coach John Chalus keeps in touch with the exploits of his former player, Matt Wieters, mainly by updates from the youngster’s mother. Chalus said recently that he never got to see Wieters play at Georgia Tech and that he hopes to see him in the big leagues, but he relayed a little anecdote about being in the catcher’s life.
Chalus said that he was invited to Wieters’ wedding but wasn’t able to attend, so he sent an autographed ball as part of the players’ wedding gift. “He must’ve just started busted out laughing when he opened the box,” said Chalus of Wieters, who will make his debut today.
The Orioles appear likely to promote David Hernandez to the big-league rotation on Thursday, calling the right-hander up from Triple-A Norfolk. Hernandez will be filling in for Koji Uehara, who went to the disabled list on Wednesday with a strained left hamstring.
Hernandez struck out 13 batters in his last outing at Triple-A Norfolk and has posted a 3-1 record and a 2.91 ERA through eight starts. The youngster led the Double-A Eastern League in strikeouts last year and currently ranks second in the International League.
When he arrives, Hernandez will add to Baltimore’s youth-filled rotation. Fellow rookies Brad Bergesen and Jason Berken are already on the staff, and the team’s two other starters — Rich Hill and Jeremy Guthrie — have combined for a little more than five years of service time.
The wait is over. Andy MacPhail, Baltimore’s president of baseball operations, announced on Tuesday’s telecast that Matt Wieters will be called up to the Majors on Friday. Wieters, the team’s top prospect, is currently hitting .285 with five home runs for Triple-A Norfolk.
Wieters, the fifth overall selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, tore through two levels and was named Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year last season. The switch-hitter should step in immediately as the team’s starting catcher, supplanting Gregg Zaun.
Brian Roberts was injured in a collision at second base with Toronto catcher Rod Barajas in the second inning on Monday, the result of a full-force slide that left him walking gingerly for the rest of the inning. Roberts stayed in the game and hit a key triple in the seventh inning in Baltimore’s victory, and the Orioles lifted him from the game for the eighth and ninth.
Roberts was diagnosed with a left shin contusion and is initially regarded as day-to-day, but the two-time All-Star said that he hopes to be able to play on Tuesday.
“We’ll see how it is in the morning,” he said. “It got stiff and sore as the game moved on. When you are running you don’t really think about it. When I stopped is when it hurt.”
The Orioles are set to promote Jason Berken from Triple-A Norfolk to take Tuesday’s starting assignment, a move that will give them three rookies in their starting rotation. Berken will replace Adam Eaton, who was recently released, for an undetermined period of time.
Berken, a former sixth-round draftee, was 2-0 with a 1.05 ERA in his first five starts for Norfolk. The Orioles may also have to replace rookie Koji Uehara, who is suffering from a sore left hamstring, at some point. Baltimore’s two most experienced starters — Jeremy Guthrie and Rich Hill — have combined for a little more than five years of big-league service time.
The Orioles learned of another pitching injury Saturday night, a mere matter of hours after watching Koji Uehara leave the game early with a sore left hamstring. Chris Tillman, one of the team’s top pitching prospects, left Triple-A Norfolk’s game with a tight groin. Tillman, who went into Saturday’s start with a 5-0 record and a 2.13 ERA will be re-evaluated Sunday.
Koji Uehara made it through just three innings Saturday night due to a case of soreness in his left hamstring, a reoccurrence of an injury suffered in Spring Training. Uehara, who had thrown three scoreless innings, will be re-evaluated Sunday and may miss his next outing.
The right-hander has a history of hamstring problems, and the ailment caused him to miss two weeks during Spring Training. Uehara wasn’t able to cover first base on an infield single in the third inning and was seen flexing the muscle against the final batter he faced.
The timing of the injury is inopportune for the Orioles, who released Adam Eaton on Friday night and have yet to tab someone as his replacement. If Uehara is indeed out for any period of time, the Orioles would be forced to find yet another starter from their farm system.
Baltimore’s outfield will suffer a loss due to attrition at some point next week, when reserve Lou Montanez will likely opt for a corrective surgery to repair a thumb injury. Montanez could miss a few months, changing the substitution pattern in Baltimore’s outfield.
Manager Dave Trembley said that Montanez could play as a reserve in the next few days if he’s needed, and he also said he expects Luke Scott to return at some point next week. At this point, Trembley just wants Montanez to heal as quickly as possible.
“He has a partial tear in the thumb area,” said Trembley. ”He’s going to opt to get it taken care of, and he has our full support there. He’s going to get it done sometime next week.”
Montanez, who won the Triple Crown in the Double-A Eastern League last year, was called up late in the ’08 season and hit a home run in his first career at-bat. He hasn’t had as much success this season, batting just .204 with six RBIs in his first 18 games.
Baltimore will likely play rookie Nolan Reimold in left field for the foreseeable future, but Felix Pie and Scott will also get their share of playing time out in the outfield.
The Orioles gave their injured designated hitter a day off on Friday. Luke Scott, who’s trying to recover from a strained left shoulder, will resume activities Saturday and could be eligible to return by Tuesday. Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said the Orioles are still uncertain as to whether Scott will need a rehab stint before he’s able to rejoin his teammates.
“With Luke Scott, we’re going to try and get him to hit for tomorrow and then we’ll go from there,” said Trembley. ”We’ll try to get him to hit, and he’s not swinging the bat today.”