The Orioles took a huge step Monday toward setting their 25-man roster for Friday's season opener, making moves with eight players, including sending outfielder Nolan Reimold to the minors and potentially severing ties with veteran left-hander Mark Hendrickson.
But just when things looked to be flatlining in a tumultuous spring, the Orioles were thrown another curve as No. 2 starter Brian Matusz was struck in the left biceps by a liner during a simulated game Monday afternoon.
"It was in the second inning. I was feeling good, I was starting to get in a good groove, and [Orioles farmhand] L.J. Hoes came up and hit a fastball right back at my arm," said Matusz, who did not need X-rays. "I put ice on it right away. I got a couple of treatments. We put a pressure pad on it, just to keep the inflammation down. We'll see how it feels tomorrow."
Matusz's injury comes three days after projected starter Brad Bergesen was struck in the right forearm while pitching in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins. Bergesen still hopes to earn a rotation spot and start Sunday's third game of the regular season, while Matusz plans to take his turn Saturday in Game 2 against the Tampa Bay Rays.
"I'm optimistic. I don't even think it is going to set me back at all. If anything, I'm upset about not continuing to get my work in," said Matusz, who originally was supposed to pitch in a minor league game Monday that was canceled because of wet conditions. "I was starting to feel good. I was starting to get in a good groove. I wanted to get in a little more work. We'll see how it feels [Tuesday] and just go from there. That's pretty much all you can do."
Although the rotation is suddenly in flux, manager Buck Showalter said he believes Matusz, who has allowed 17 hits, seven walks and nine earned runs in 132/3 innings, has pitched enough this spring to be ready for Saturday.
"I think so, if he's OK," Showalter said. "But we've still got something going on there with Bergesen and Matusz."
If they aren't ready, Showalter said, he is considering several options, including top prospect Zach Britton "or another pitcher. I don't know. [Britton] would be one of the candidates."
Cuts clarify Orioles' roster picture, but injury to Matusz muddies it back up
Baltimore Sun | Mar 29