"I was really impressed."-Bowie Baysox starting pitcher Chris Tillman
"He's a very special kid behind the plate."-Bowie Baysox pitching coach Mike Griffin.
Those are the early reviews on the Orioles' catching prospect Matt Wieters, who has been in Bowie since Friday and caught just two games. So far, Chorye Spoone and Chris Tillman feel comfortable with their new catcher.
Wieters, who was just called up to Bowie from advanced-A Frederick, has not had much time to get used to his new pitching staff, but has already made a positive impact on their pitching. It was most visible through Chorye Spoone's fourth start since April 20 on Saturday when he surrendered five hits in six innings of shutout pitching.
It comes as little surprise that Spoone's best start since returning to the Bowie rotation a few weeks ago comes with Wieters behind the plate.
"[The chemistry] was there right off the bat," Spoone told Inside The Warehouse. "In every aspect of the game, like him calling the game, we were all on the same page every pitch. We went sinkers in, obviously my bread and butter.
"After that he saw how much they were cheating [on the sinker], and I saw it. So what we do the last to innings is go outside fastballs and [Altoona] had no chance. That, in my opinion, means he knows what's going on during the game. He's reading the batter, they're all cheating now, we're gonna go away, and now we're going to flip over a breaking ball and pound 'em right back in."
Matt Wieters did not want to take too much credit noticing what opposing Eastern League batters have seen from Spoone the since 2007.
"[Spoone] had great stuff and you have to make sure you don't let him try and do too much," Wieters said. "When he tries to do too much he over throws, but once he settles down, he was good for the last four innings."
The Baysox pitching coach, Mike Griffin also took notice of how Spoone and Wieters were able to key off each other in what was the first time they had ever worked together.
"When you've got a catcher who comes out and sees some things that he and I talked about to watch for with these guys saves a trip [to the mound]. I'll tell you what, that's pretty good.
"He's a very special kid behind the plate, very special, and we can see that in 2 games, it's pretty evident," Griffin said of his pitchers' newest backstop. "He's very smart, very intelligent, and he's able to pick up on stuff very quickly when a pitcher gets out of rhythm, and he helped Spoone out [Saturday], which was outstanding."
The starter of game two of Sunday's double-header, Chris Tillman, also seemed right in line with Griffin and Spoone.
"I don't really notice catchers, for the most part, but tonight I noticed it and it made a difference," Tillman said. "He thinks with the game. He knows when to go in and when to go out, he gets real low, I mean, I was really impressed."
Both Spoone and Tillman raved about their new catcher, but also expressed that, as with any new pitcher-catcher relationship, the game calling will improve with more work.
"He doesn't really know our pitchers yet," Tillman added. "That's the only thing I really struggled with; I had to shake a lot and that slowed the game down a bit. Other than that I thought he did real well tonight."
While getting used to the pitching staff may take a little time, his new manager, Brad Komminsk is not too worried.
"It will take him a little while to get to know everyone, I'm sure, but he'll be fine."
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