How much longer can the Orioles wait for catching prospect Matt Wieters?
Aging Gregg Zaun has been a disaster offensively to start the season. Zaun was hitless in his first 12 at bats to start the season and has not done much better since. He’s hitting .129 for the year while going a putrid 8 for 62 with 0 homeruns and a whopping 1 RBI. Backup Chadd Moeller has been a little better. Moeller is hitting .292, but has only played in 7 games with 24 AB’s. Moeller has 1 HR and has matched Zaun’s RBI output with 1. So, 2 RBI from the Orioles catchers this season in the first month!
Trembley: Zaun Will Improve
“I think for a guy who has played as long as Zaun has, you’ve got to look at the track record and see what he is, and that’s basically a .250 hitter, and I think that’s what he would be,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. “He’s done a very nice job for us behind the plate, but offensively we know he’s capable. I know he wants to give more to us offensively, and he needs to. I think he’s tinkered with some things at the plate,” added Trembley. Unfortunately, Zaun’s defensive prowess doesn’t help any fantasy baseball managers who are hoping he can get more than 1 RBI in May.
Wieters Due Late May or Early June
As for Wieters, who has been projected as a potential Rookie of the Year candidate for 2009, he returned to the Norfolk lineup on April 24 after a hamstring injury had kept him on the shelf for a few days. Wieters is hitting .278 on the year for Norfolk with 1 HR in 15 games thus far.
On April 29, Orioles manager Trembley noted that there is no connection between Zaun’s struggles and the call-up of Wieters which many anticipate will be in late May at the earliest. “I think the Wieters thing is a separate entity onto itself,” Trembley said. “I don’t think the call-up of Wieters or the time frame with Wieters has anything to do with what Zaun does or doesn’t do. Wieters is in his own category and basically on his own program there. I don’t think there’s any sense of panic or anything based upon what Zaun or (Chad) Moeller does.”
Zaun, 38, signed a $1.5 million contract for 2009 and has been given the job of training Matt Wieters to be his replacement—a replacement that may be coming sooner than later if the Orioles want to contend and put more fans in the seats at