Wieters' struggles part of learning curve

Wieters' struggles part of learning curve

NEW YORK -- Orioles catcher Matt Wieters isn't alone in his offensive struggles. Still, the 24-year-old Wieters' .240 batting average -- including an 0-for-14 road trip -- are a glaring statistic among Baltimore's season-long slumping bats.

"I think he's been caught in between [at the plate]," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "He's trying to catch up to the fastball and then when he tries to do that, it seems like he's getting a lot of offspeed or breaking stuff."

Wieters wasn't in Thursday afternoon's starting lineup, given that it was a day game after a night game, and Trembley acknowledged that part of Wieters' struggles can be credited to the steep learning curve of the American League East.

"He's still learning his craft at this level and he's learning the intensity of the game, which is far greater than what it was at Georgia Tech and what it was at [Class A Advanced] Frederick," Trembley said.

"I think you have to acclimate yourself physically and mentally to this grind."

Wieters has played in 49 games for the Orioles this season and has made significant strides behind the plate. He entered Thursday's game with just two errors and has thrown out potential basestealers 37 percent of the time -- a marker that is among the best in the league. But offensively, the switch-hitting Wieters hasn't made the same progress. He is hitting .236 (29-for-123) as a right-handed hitter and .250 (13-for-52) from the left side. Wieters is just 10-for-51 (.196) with runners in scoring position.

"Most of the pitches that he's swinging at, he's chasing the ball up. The fastball up, the breaking ball down," Trembley said of Wieters, who has four homers and 16 RBIs in 175 at-bats.

"They are not strikes, which tells me he is cheating, trying to get it started really quick. Young guys do that, a lot of guys do that."