Matusz to make 3rd rehab start

Orioles starter Brian Matusz (strained left intercostal muscle) will make a third rehab start Friday for Triple-A Norfolk and could be activated as early as June 1’s series finale in Seattle.

Right now, it’s about 50-50 whether Matusz’s next outing will be his last for an affiliate as the team has been cautious in bringing the 24-year-old Matusz along. Given the amount of time Matusz has missed –he was placed on the disabled list retroactive to March 30 — manager Buck Showalter likened Matusz’s rehab to a full Spring Training of sorts.

“If he pitches well and the people that are evaluating like what they are seeing … then he can come back and pitch for us on the first,” Showalter said of Matusz, who has logged 10 Minor League innings in addition to a pair of starts at extended spring. “If not, he’d take another start on the first somewhere else other than here, or in Seattle in that case.”

Matusz, who is scheduled to throw around 90 pitches Friday, said he felt it was the “right move” for him to get at least one more start.

“I think it will be good for me,” said Matusz, who threw a side session prior to Tuesday’s game. “I’d like to go out there and throw more than six innings, and get a little more pitches under my belt as far as far as coming up here and competing at the big league level.”

The team’s No. 2 starter, Matusz went 6-0 with 1.57 ERA in his final eight starts in 2010, leading American League rookies in strikeouts (143), innings pitched (175 2/3) and games started (32). He went six innings or more in 20 of those starts, and will help add consistency to the Orioles rotation.

Matusz tossed six scoreless innings for Double-A Bowie Saturday night, allowing three hits and a walk in the 70-pitch outing. His activation will force Chris Tillman or Brad Bergesen to Triple-A or to the bullpen.

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