Wieters tours ballpark, will play for IronBirds

August 24, 2007|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,Sun reporter

Matt Wieters wore an Orioles jersey yesterday with his last name across the back, pulled over a long-sleeve black dress shirt. It wasn't the most stylish look, but it seemed like a perfect fit for the former Georgia Tech catcher and the team that drafted him.

Wieters passed his physical exam and signed his minor league contract yesterday, making him an official member of the organization after being the fifth overall selection in the June amateur draft. He received another tour of the ballpark, consented to more interviews and prepared for the next phase of his life.

"It's definitely a relief," he said. "It's been a long day of physicals and now it's good to have the business part done and get out there and get playing real soon."

Once the fourth inning of the Orioles-Minnesota Twins game was completed, Wieters walked through the entrance behind home plate and absorbed an ovation from an announced crowd of 19,389. But he wasn't going to stay long.

The Orioles are sending Wieters to Lowell, Mass., tomorrow so he can meet up with the short-season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds. He'll get into playing shape and most likely make his debut when the team returns home for a series against Brooklyn that begins Thursday, or the next series against Hudson Valley.

"I've been lifting and throwing," he said. "All I've got to do is get back to catching nine innings and running the bases."

He won't put a timetable on it, but Wieters shouldn't keep fans waiting too long for his game debut at Camden Yards.

"It's awesome. It's an unbelievable ballpark. It's more than I expected," he said. "I always thought back behind right field were just some abandoned warehouses, but inside they're pretty nice."

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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