With Matusz, O's pull off save

THE SCHMUCK STOPS HERE

Commentary

Franchise entices pitcher before deadline with $3.2M

August 16, 2008|By PETER SCHMUCK

The Orioles finally came to terms with Brian Matusz yesterday afternoon, and don't think it was a coincidence that the deal was made - and the 6 p.m. news conference scheduled - so we could all be in front of the television when Michael Phelps goes for gold in the 100-meter butterfly later tonight.

OK, it probably was a coincidence, but what fun would that be? Everybody's got Phelps Phever, so why not Andy MacPhail and agent Marc Agar. Matusz reportedly got a $3.2 million signing bonus, which means he'll be the coolest kid in the Arizona Fall League ... or the Hawaiian Winter League.

He'll likely go to Aberdeen to work out with the Single-A team and then make his competitive debut in one of those offseason leagues. That's what the Orioles did with Matt Wieters and Jake Arrieta, and it seemed to work OK.

True confessions

Cannot tell a lie. I got so caught up in Michaelmania on Thursday night that I forgot to switch back to the Orioles game and missed the entire eight-run eighth inning.

Eight in the eighth? A couple of more of those and Dave Trembley might have to legally change his name to Ocho Ocho.

That's the trouble with channel surfing. Sometimes you catch a wave and you just don't want to get off, though I did flip back to watch Jim Hunter on the post-game show. Never miss Jimmy after a win, because he always looks like Santa just dumped the whole sleigh out right in his living room.

Proof Baltimore is better than L.A.

Yesterday's top sports headline in Baltimore: Phelps wins sixth straight gold medal, sets sixth straight world record.

Yesterday's top sports headline in Los Angeles: Manny Ramirez gets haircut.

And it wasn't even a real haircut. Ramirez was told by manager Joe Torre to "clean up" his super-long dreadlocks, but Manny - being Manny - went to a local barber shop and had about an inch taken off.

Blangst revisited

Doug M wrote in to point out that I am not the inventor of the word blangst, which is a combination of blog and angst that showed up a couple of times when he Googled the term.

My definition - Internet-fueled anxiety about a situation that increases proportionately with the number of bloggers and posters who write about it - is slightly different than the others, but I am definitely chastened and will do more research in the future before taking credit for something. Can't believe it. Same thing happened to me with the microchip.

Still, there seems to be a lot of blangst over whether to promote Matt Wieters to the majors either now or in September. I've got no big problem with a September call-up but don't see any reason to sacrifice significant service time just to get him up here now after a relatively short stay at Double-A for sheer entertainment value.

If you want to see him that bad, Bowie's right down Highway 3.

Lou and the lineup logic

With Lou Montanez batting .474 since he was called up from Bowie, I'm not surprised to hear the chorus of calls for him to play every day. He's definitely making a case for more playing time - those two RBI hits in the same inning Thursday night sure didn't hurt - but I'm not convinced this is a you-told-Dave-so situation.

There is room for two schools of thought on the handling of the guy some of you are calling "Sweet Lou."

1. He has suddenly blossomed into a great hitter all these years into his professional career and would be even more valuable to the Orioles if Trembley hadn't held him back by limiting his playing time since his promotion.

2. Trembley has used him judiciously and put him in position to build on his great Double-A numbers by putting him in favorable situations.

I'm going to go with No. 2 for now, but the only way to find out for sure what kind of hitter he is at this level is to throw him into the deep end and see whether he can swim. Center field, however, might be too deep right now.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

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