Bruised left triceps could push back Matusz's next start a couple of days


'There is nothing structurally wrong there,' manager Showalter says

September 14, 2010|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

Brian Matusz's next start could be pushed back a couple of days as the rookie left-hander recovers from being hit in the left triceps by a line drive off the bat of Yunel Escobar in Monday's series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.

"Brian is pretty sore today, but we feel confident that there is nothing structurally wrong there," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "It's just a matter of where we slot him back in. Until he's able to take a work day and be fine with that, there's nothing imminent. But I don't see him, at the worst, taking his normal turn."

After getting hit with the liner in the first, Matusz got the final two outs of the inning before he was pulled from the game as a precaution. The pitcher said his arm bruised and swelled up over night, but he's hoping the swelling will go down enough to allow him to play catch Wednesday.

"Since we are on basically [starting] once every seven days, it's OK to just take today off and see how it feels tomorrow," Matusz said. "It's a little bit sore. It struck me pretty good, so I should be fine. We will see how it feels tomorrow."

Matusz is tentatively scheduled to start Monday's series opener against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. However, Thursday's day off would allow Showalter to push him back a couple of days without affecting the rotation much.

Matusz has logged 1572/3 innings this season, matching his total during his first professional season last year. Showalter acknowledged that Matusz would likely get shut down before the end of the season anyway, but his injury — at least for now — won't accelerate that process.

"We were getting close to that," Showalter said. "We haven't come to a drop-dead [point] yet where somebody is going to be not pitching anymore. Is that going to happen? More than likely. In fact, likely. It's a factor you are going to consider. You're always going to err on the side of caution."

Lugo gets good news; Roberts out

Infielder Julio Lugo, who has been having recurring headaches and unavailable for the past four games, got good news from a magnetic resonance imaging taken Tuesday. Showalter said the headaches are the result of sinusitis, and doctors don't think they are related to Lugo's getting hit in the head by a pickoff throw Aug. 29 in Anaheim, Calif.

"They told me I have an infection, and that's why it's causing me to have headaches," Lugo said. "It's been a tough year for me. Now just getting headaches for weeks, we were concerned that it was [because of] getting hit by the ball, but it's not. Actually, it's good news. Now, I know I can try and play again."

Lugo got the green light to do some running, though he still could undergo further testing.

"They ruled some things out and got some things they want to follow up on," Showalter said. "He's unavailable until they find out what exactly we are dealing with there."

Second baseman Brian Roberts was not in the starting lineup Tuesday as he was still hobbled by a right knee bruise from getting hit by a pitch from Jason Frasor in the eighth inning of Monday's series opener.

Roberts got treatment and did some work in the indoor batting cage, but the club decided to hold him out about 11/2 hours before the game. Robert Andino started at second base and batted leadoff in Roberts' place.

A purpose pitch

Showalter acknowledged that he considered whether Frasor hit Roberts on purpose, but he said that isn't unusual.

"Every time my guys get hit, I think of that," he said. "You consider it. I'll put it this way: In the position of managing the club, you have to have a grip on reality and don't let your emotions go overboard."

Toronto pitchers hit three batters in Monday's game, but one of them was with a breaking ball and it wasn't clear, even on replay, whether it hit Jake Fox's foot or not. Shawn Camp hit Adam Jones, but it was with the bases loaded to bring in a run. Frasor's plunking of Roberts came after Orioles reliever Jim Johnson knocked down major league home run leader Jose Bautista with a pitch under his chin in the top half of the inning.

"If you do it mathematically, yeah, I got it, 3-1," Showalter said. "But I also understand what I'd be feeling like in the other dugout if one of my best hitters got a ball up and in, and I also know what I feel like when mine got hit. I do look at those things after the game, and I do put myself in the other team's shoes.

"I know Frasor has got great command. On the flip side of that, I think J.J. has good command. You take all that in consideration, but you also try not to get your emotions ahead of your brain. Sometimes that's tough for players, but it shouldn't be tough for coaches and managers."

Around the horn

Asked whether he had ever had his jersey given away, as it was on T-shirt Tuesday at Camden Yards, Showalter said, "Yeah, after I got fired." … Matusz was presented with his Rookie of the Month award for August by pitching coach Rick Kranitz in a pre-game ceremony Tuesday. … The Orioles' 4-3 win in the series opener was their fourth straight win on a Monday after they lost their first eight Monday contests. … Entering Tuesday, the Orioles had to win eight of their final 18 games to equal their 64-98 record from last year. The 2010 Orioles were 12 games behind the pace of last year's team through 105 games.

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