Off days odds and ends
*I addressed this in yesterday’s game story, but it deserves repeating. The Orioles are very concerned about the performance of pitcher Brian Matusz, who left after just 1 1/3 innings in Sunday’s loss, his third start off the disabled list.
It’s easy to look at Matusz’s first two starts off the DL as not that bad, but –as manager Buck Showalter pointed out — they were only OK outings statistically. Matusz has not had his usual stuff in any outing this year and, to be honest, didn’t look comfortable this spring.
The Orioles drew it up so Matusz –who missed two months with a left intercostal muscle strain — could face the offensive-light lineups of Seattle and Oakland the first two times around. The Rays took advantage of Matusz and afterwards several players commented on his dipping velocity. So did Rays manager Joe Maddon, who took it a step further.
“I think there might be something not quite right about Matusz,” Maddon said of the Orioles’ lefty, who has been a shell of his former self since returning from the disabled list on June 1. “He’s not throwing as hard as he used to. So, I’m certain he’s not 100 percent.”
Showalter –who was as terse post-game as I’ve seen him all year — wouldn’t commit to whether Matusz was making his next start and made no bones about how unacceptable it was that the Rays had four steals in the first inning off Matusz. Shouldn’t the Orioles be seeing some improvement with him given his four rehab starts and three Major League outings off the DL?
“There should, there should, Yeah,”‘ Showalter said. “He’s telling us he feels fine. Just not a whole lot coming out right now.”
*The Brooks Robinson All-Star game will be played Monday at 2 p.m. at Camden Yards. Admission is free and spectators can enter the park through Gate D. Given yesterday’s weather the original game was delayed.
*As expected Brandon Snyder was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk following Sunday’s loss, with Derrek Lee expected to return and fly with the team to Toronto. Lee was on bereavement over the weekend to attend his grandfather’s funeral in California.
*Mark Reynolds said yesterday that an X-ray taken on his left forearm was negative and he was optimistic he would be back in the lineup after Monday’s off day. Reynolds was hit by Sean Rodriguez’s liner in the fifth inning and exited a few frames later after the area started to tighten up and get sore.
*Felix Pie trying to steal in the eighth inning with the Orioles down three runs and a 1-2 count at the plate? Not smart, not smart at all. Asked if that was sign, Showalter was brief: “That’s a mistake,” he said. There were plenty in Sunday’s loss, with Reynolds charged with a a pair of errors and Adam Jones letting Evan Longoria’s ball tail away for a two-run inside-the-park homer.