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Matusz, Wieters among AFL's 'Rising Stars'

Orioles prospects Matt Wieters and Brian Matusz took part in the Arizona Fall League's third annual Rising Stars Showcase on Friday night. Their team, the National Rising Stars, scored six runs in the final two innings to edge the American Rising Stars, 7-6.

Wieters was the starting catcher and batted third for the National stars. While he had one of the best offensive seasons in the minor leagues in 2008, the Orioles' 2007 first-round draft pick showed off his defensive skills Friday night.

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The 22-year-old catcher threw out two base runners during the game. In the first inning, he gunned down Daniel Murphy, who played in 49 games for the New York Mets in 2008. Wieters picked off shortstop Emmanuel Burriss at first base in the fifth. Burriss had 13 stolen bases in 95 games with the San Francisco Giants this season.

Offensively, Wieters had an uneventful night with a strikeout in the first inning and a walk in the fourth. He is batting .333 (11-for-33) with five RBIs and eight runs scored in 10 games in Arizona.

Matusz, who was selected by the Orioles in the first round of this year's draft, entered the game with a runner on second base and one out in the seventh inning. He retired Brian Bogusevic with a groundout and then walked Josh Thole to put runners on the corners. The 21-year-old left-hander struck out Logan Morrison to end the inning. Matusz threw 13 pitches (seven strikes) to get two outs before his night was finished. He is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA and nine strikeouts in seven innings in the AFL.

The teams were selected by a vote of major league scouting and farm directors. Wieters and Matusz were joined on the National team by other players from the Peoria Javelinas, Phoenix Desert Dogs and Surprise Rafters. The American team was comprised of players from the Mesa Solar Sox, Peoria Saguaros and Scottsdale Scorpions.

If you're interested, here are some archived photos of Matusz and Wieters, as well as some of the Orioles' previous first-round draft picks.

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