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Wieters in review

Some posters thought I was too hard on Matt Wieters last night for looking at a fastball third strike with two outs and two runners on at a time when the Orioles needed something to happen to stay in the game.

I admitted in the entry that I was nitpicking one at-bat, and I was thrilled to see Wieters make an adjustment in his next at-bat and line a breaking ball to the opposite field to drive in a run. I was certainly not "calling him out" for striking out against Jon Lester. Just for being a bit too passive in that situation.

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Everybody knows my position on Wieters. I think he's doing fine for a kid who has a year and change in the minors and two months in the big leagues, and I've defended him multiple times here when posters started complaining that he wasn't living up to his expectations.

Here's the only thing he isn't living up to: Evan Longoria.

Fans watched how Longoria assimilated so quickly into the Rays lineup last year and heard the hype that Wieters was going to be the catching version of him. Well, it's a little harder to be the catching version of Evan Longoria, because Evan Longoria didn't have to spend the spring of 2008 learning to handle a greatly expanded pitching staff the way Wieters has had to do this year...and, really, Longoria is a truly special player who did something truly special last year.

Wieters is not just on schedule here. He's ahead of schedule. He's going to struggle and he's going to look like he has a long swing sometimes, because he does. He's a tall guy who will always look bad when he strikes out. But he is going to be a very good major league player and it's going to happen pretty quick, just not quick enough for a few people who still don't realize what this season is all about.

Associated Press photo

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