Duquette on Matusz, infield help & external options
Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said prior to Wednesday’s game that the team still views Brian Matusz as a starter long-term, with the move to Triple-A Norfolk’s bullpen because of team need.
“It’s for right now,” Duquette said of the decision to try Matusz as a lefty reliever. “I think if he can be a starter we can have more value and develop a better career for himself. For now, he can certainly help us in relief in that role.
We always look internally and externally at the same time. With the players we have internally a lot of times if we take the time to look at what they do well, a lot of times the answer is right there. Like Matusz has a great record against left-handed hitters. His whole career. Not just this year, but his whole career. So, with [Troy] Patton’s injury there’s an opportunity. We’ve been looking for another left-hander out of the bullpen. It’s an opportunity for him to help us.”
Duquette didn’t seem overly optimistic that the organization would have any external help on the horizon, despite the season-long search to add starting pitching.
“A lot of the pitching is not available that was available at the time of the Trade Deadline,” said Duquette, who did not make a move at this year’s deadline. “[Jason] Hammel looks good. So if we can get him back and keep the others going that will be very helpful. If we can get [Hammel] back that would be the equivalent of bringing in a veteran pitcher to help the team.”
The 29-year-old Hammel is scheduled to throw another bullpen Thursday and if all goes well he will throw in a simulated game sometime over the team’s next roadtrip. The Orioles are targeting an early September return for Hammel, who will help boost a rotation that currently includes Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman.
Asked if the club is still looking for external corner infield help, which Duquette said was still an emphasis after promoting top prospect Manny Machado, the play of Machado and improvement of Mark Reynolds seems to have softened his stance.
“You like Machado you like what he’s done?,” Duquette said with a grin about the 20-year-old Machado, who was named Co-American League Player of the Week last week. “How about [second baseman Omar] Quintanila you think he’s done a good job? So, do they look like every day players? OK.”
Quintanilla has three home runs since joining the Orioles, and had three total in 592 career at-bats prior to coming to Baltimore. Asked if he was surprised about the offense from Quintanilla –thought to be a defense-first player — Duquette was coy.
“He has a good fundamental approach to hitting. So generally when you have a good fundamental approach you get good results.”