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Tag:Brian Matusz
Posted on: June 30, 2011 10:34 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 10:42 pm
 

Matusz roughed up, optioned after loss

By Matt Snyder

Orioles starting pitcher Brian Matusz had a bad night Thursday. The 24-year-old lefty continued to suffer from a velocity drop and was hammered by the visiting Cardinals. Then, almost immediately after the game concluded, news broke that the Orioles had optioned Matusz to Triple-A (Baltimore Sun via Twitter).

In the loss to the Cardinals, Matusz only made it through 3 1/3 innings, giving up nine hits and eight earned runs before being mercifully removed. He gave up home runs to Lance Berkman and Jon Jay -- and it was the first home run of Jay's major-league career against a left-handed pitcher.

The outing was just another in a line of horrible starts for Matusz. In his three previous games, he was 0-3 with an 11.12 ERA and had given up six home runs in 11 1/3 innings. In that three-game stretch -- which doesn't include the Thursday-night debacle -- Matusz was allowing opponents to hit .392 with a 1.271 OPS against him. To be more succinct: He's just getting crushed by major leaguers. A noticeable dip in velocity will do that, and now Matusz can work on things in the minors.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 25, 2011 10:23 am
Edited on: May 25, 2011 10:52 am
 

Pepper: Mets on verge of accepting ownership bid

By Evan Brunell

SO THE TIME HAS COME FOR A NEW OWNER: OK, so technically a new Mets minority owner, but the move could have lasting implications.

Sources say that former commodities trader Ray Bartoszek and investor Anthony Lanza have been chosen as the preferred bidders for the available stake in the Mets' franchise. The new owners will have a say in the team's finances and path forward, as incumbent owner Fred Wilpon has promised. And if Wilpon is forced to sell the team -- a distinct possibility -- it's likely that Bartoszek and Lanza will emerge as the new owners.

It's unclear how much stake the new owners will receive, but the cost is expected to be around $200 million for up to a 49 percent stake and a deal is extremely close. First, though, negotiations on whether the minority group can purchase a small stake in SportsNet New York has to be ironed out, but could be the necessary final piece for the deal as 49 percent may not be justifiable enough for $200 million given the Mets' debt problems.

Bartoszek previously headed up oil trading for the world's biggest commodity trader, Glencore International, while Lanza is an owner of Carriage House Partners, a private equity firm. (New York Post)

100 PERCENT
: Unsurprisingly, Carlos Beltran disagrees with Fred Wilpon's comments that he's 65-to-70 percent. "I'm 100 percent," Beltran said. And he's playing like it. (Newsday)

FIGGINS SLOWLY IMPROVING
: Chone Figgins has been a shell of his former self since arriving in Seattle, but skipper Eric Wedge thinks things are getting better. "I feel like he's been a little bit more aggressive,'' Wedge said. "I feel like he's starting to make better contact. More firm." It's still way too early to think about Figgins finally delivering on his contract, but any step forward is positive. (Seattle Times)

STREAK SNAPPED
: CC Sabathia hurled a complete game victory Tuesday, coming away with the win. It was his first complete game win since May 8, 2009... and also the first Yankees complete-game winner since. That's the longest streak in AL history for a stretch in-between complete-game wins at 341 games. (New York Daily News)

NEW CLOSER
: Until Andrew Bailey returns, Grant Balfour will be the new closer in Oakland, replacing Brian Fuentes after the flap Fuentes created with his comments Tuesday. Too bad no one let Balfour know. (MLB.com)

ODDITY: Here's something interesting: Curtis Granderson has smacked 16 home runs and four triples, an impressive feat so far. But it's been all or nothing, as his four doubles pop out, a rare occurrence. After all, if you hit for power, you'll have your fair share of doubles. Granderson's doubles account for just one-sixth of his extra base hits, and only two other players in history have more extra-base hits than him with a similar 1/6 ratio of doubles: Mark McGwire in 2001 and Wes Covington in 1957. (Baseball Reference)

ONE MORE: Orioles starter Brian Matusz agrees that he needs one more rehab start, so will pitch for Triple-A on Friday. But after that, he's expected to push to return to the staff for a June 1 start, which will mark his season debut. (MASN Sports)

NEW DODGER: Top prospect Rubby De La Rosa received the call to the majors, surprising the Double-A starting pitcher, who will pitch in relief. While the Dodgers contend his future is in the rotation, de la Rosa was needed to shore up a bullpen besieged by injuries and ineffectiveness. De la Rosa has the talent to emerge as closer in L.A., and the team is still in the postseason hunt, so the promotion does make some sense. (Los Angeles Times)

YER OUTTA HERE! Ned Yost isn't going to get tossed from a game anytime soon -- unless he feels one of his players are being disrespected --  but that will change in coming years. "This is the time, with a young club, that you set the tone," Yost said. "I don't want these guys complaining and moaning. An umpire's call is an umpire's call and it doesn't get changed. It's doesn't do anybody any good to whine or cry about it. So, if I'm yelling, moaning and screaming on every call, naturally they're going to follow my lead. So it's important to me, right now, to accept the umpire's calls. ... But disrespect a player one time and I'm gone." Also in the link: Stories about how the Royals are trying to help those affected by the devastating Joplin, Mo. tornado. (MLB.com)

BRING IT IN: Is it time for the Padres to bring in the fences at Petco Park? Petco has become the anti-Coors Field, and even Coors is no longer an offensive haven thanks to the effects of the humidor. There appears to be a growing groundswell to fix Petco, and it would be as simple as moving the fences in. No one advocates making Petco a hitter's park, but moving the fences in would only even the playing field just a bit -- and that's all one needs. (Rob Neyer)

FIRST WIN: Alfredo Simon nailed his first win of the season thanks to an Adam Jones walk-off home run. A relieved Simon was thrilled after the game as it was his first win since last season. He has been dealing with a murder charge in his native country since the winter and still isn't out of the woods yet. (MASN Sports)

NEW GRIP: Dustin Moseley has been a nice piece of the Padres so far this year, but the righty can't sit on his laurels when there's more to be done. He tweaked his changeup, which earned positive results after Monday's game. (MLB.com)

PATROLLING THE OUTFIELD: Josh Hamilton believes he could start playing the outfield immediately but will be held back until this weekend, where he is expected to return to left field. Once he has several games under his belt, it's possible he could start seeing some time in center. (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

BACK TO ACTION: Johan Santana finally stepped back on a mound for the first time since last season and threw 25 pitches. Santana is progressing nicely in his return from surgery and could rejoin the Mets in July. If he pitches strong down the stretch, he could be dealt after the year. (ESPN New York)

A NEW LOU: Lou is back in Chicago, and we're talking Montanez. The former Cubs first-round pick 11 years ago took a detour in Baltimore for four years, but wound up back with the Cubs this season in Triple-A. He finally reached the majors with his original club when tapped yesterday to replace Marlon Byrd on the roster. Montanez made the most of it, notching a RBI double in his first Cubs at-bat. (Chicago Sun-Times)

ON HIS WAY BACK: John Lackey pitched in a bullpen session Tuesday and came through with flying colors, setting him up for a rehab game on May 31 and a return to the Red Sox for June 5's start against the Athletics. (Boston Globe)

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Posted on: April 30, 2011 10:40 am
 

Matusz nearing return, Simon converted to starter

SimonBy Evan Brunell

The Orioles are no longer at the top of the division, but are only two games under .500 and hoping to dip no lower.

For that to happen, though, Baltimore's got to start having some luck bounce its way as the rotation is missing Brian Matusz and Justin Duchscherer. Even the emergence of Zach Britton hasn't been enough, but the O's got some good news Thursday when Matusz tossed a bullpen session without restrictions. Now, Matusz is slated to throw a few innings of an extended spring training game on May 7. Assuming the lefty's left intercostal muscle doesn't flare up, another spring game could be in line, or the O's could ship Matusz out on a rehab start. That puts his potential big-league arrival three weeks away. That's eons away when you play a baseball game nearly every day, but Baltimore will take it.

"He's got his schedule, he knows it, each day what he's doing down there. There's two dates if he stays on schedule that he could be there for us," Orioles manager Showalter told the Baltimore Sun. "We've already tweaked it once or twice, but as long as he makes those goals physically, we can adjust it, but not until he gets a couple innings under his belt. I wouldn't say you are starting over, but he hasn't had a ball in his hand for over four weeks, so you got to build his arm strength back up."

Baltimore is seeking starting pitching depth and to that effect have converted reliever Alfredo Simon (pictured) to a starter. Simon closed games at one point last season and was slated to contend for the same job this season, but a murder charge in his native Dominican Republic derailed that. After being released on bond, Simon has been adjusting to his new role in extended spring training and is shaping up to toss five innings in a game Saturday. 

If that goes off without any hitches, he will then be taken off the restricted list -- which will force Baltimore to clear a 40-man spot -- and sent to a minor-league affiliate for further tuning as starter. The Sun says that Simon is in much better shape than usual and there are good reviews on his pitches, so bank on seeing him in Baltimore at some point this year.

Also, the O's are keeping an eye on Kevin Millwood, who pitched for Baltimore last season. Millwood found free agency lacking and only recently inked a minor-league deal with the Yankees. He can exercise an out clause in his contract Sunday if he is not promoted to the majors and New York is not expected to do that. That could put Millwood back on the free agent list for the O's to swoop in.

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Posted on: April 27, 2011 9:59 am
 

Pepper: Johan's return on horizon



By Matt Snyder


When Mets ace Johan Santana underwent surgery on his left anterior shoulder capsule last September 14, the thought was he might return to the mound in the majors in early July of 2011. He's still not far enough along in the process to make an accurate call on when he might suit up for the Mets again, but he's definitely progressing and has had very few setbacks so far.

Tuesday afternoon, it was reported Santana was making "firm" throws from 120 feet. Remember, a pitching mound is roughly half that distance from home plate. He reportedly might back up to 150-foot throws before getting on that mound to feel things out from there, but he might be ready now to start the process on working himself back onto the hill. (ESPN New York)

Even if he did get on the hill within the next few days, Santana would need several bullpens and a minor-league rehab stint before rejoining his team.

Still, after an abysmal start, things are looking up for the Mets. They've won five straight games and now can at least think about getting Johan back at some point in the first half of the season. Santana is 40-25 with a 2.85 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 496 strikeouts in 88 starts for the Mets.

BASEBALL TODAY: Will Andre Ethier keep his hitting streak alive? Can the Red Sox rebound with Josh Beckett on the mound? Tony Lee of NESN.com joins Lauren Shehadi to fill you in.

ABOUT THAT STREAK: I had some thoughts on Ethier's streak and hitting streaks in general yesterday. In case it got buried in the Everett/Dykstra madness, here it is .

ZIMMERMAN/HAMILTON DOING BASEBALL THINGS: Ryan Zimmerman and Josh Hamilton are two of the big names early in the season who have gone down with injuries. Both resumed what are terms as "baseball activities" Tuesday. Zimmerman did some light throwing and running, while Hamilton took some fly balls in the outfield and lightly tossed them back. Hamilton isn't anywhere near a return to the Rangers, though. Zimmerman was supposed to be at least close to back by now, considering the initial prognosis was three weeks -- and that was April 9. The Nationals are taking extra precautions with their star third baseman, so things are going to move slowly. He is expected to go on a minor-league rehab assignment before returning to the big club. (Nationals Journal )

MATUSZ PAIN-FREE: It's been a rough 2011 for promising Baltimore pitcher Brian Matusz. It seems like he's only suffered setback after setback in his attempt to return from an intercostal strain in his shoulder. Tuesday, however, was a good day. Matusz threw long-toss (120 feet) and some light tossing off the mound and did so without pain.

"I felt really good. I felt good health-wise and I felt good mechanically," he said. "The pain's gone. I want to keep it that way. I've just got to be able to build my way back up as possible without taking it too far too fast."

Matusz and the Orioles are looking at a mid-May return. (School of Roch )

SAVE SKEWERING: Matthew Leach of MLB.com wrote a great column on how managers have been taken out of their best mindset simply by one stat: Saves. The simplest way to put his point is that the highest-leverage situation in a game for a relief pitcher could come in any inning, and if it falls somewhere before the ninth inning, the manager refuses to use his best reliever, simply because it's not a save situation. And this could actually cost teams games. A highly recommended read. (MLB.com )

MR. APRIL: Kosuke Fukudome is an elite player in April. Seriously. This is his fourth April. In 343 April (or March) plate appearances in his career, Fukudome is hitting .358 with a .466 on-base percentage, 19 doubles, 10 home runs, 43 RBI and 53 runs. His 1.015 OPS absolutely dwarfs his next highest total for any month (.834 in August is next, while June and September are below .640). Fangraphs.com notices that this April, where he's almost hitting .500, is different than the past three, however.

SQUEEZE PLAY SANDWICH: There won't be a middle ground here. You'll either think this "sandwich" looks awesome or disgusting. I fall in the former camp. (This is why you're huge )

THE THREE-(BLACK)HOLE:
The Red Sox are getting nearly nothing out of the third spot in the batting order. Considering the three options coming into the season to hit there were Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia, it's a bit puzzling. Good analysis here, and -- much like the writer -- I'd expect the Red Sox just leave Gonzalez there and he will come around. (WEEI.com )

OLD-SCHOOL VS. NEW-SKOOL: Here's an interesting piece about a fan taking his young son to both Miller Park and Wrigley Field and how much more kid-friendly Miller Park is. No, it's not the typical -- and played and over-played -- assault on Wrigley Field fans and the so-called party atmosphere. He points out all the activities for kids to do, Bernie Brewer going down the slide, the fact that there is a roof when the weather is bad and that there is a playground. His broad point is that getting kids to love baseball starts with getting them to have fun at the ballpark and it's not fun for a six-year-old to sit in frigid weather at a place like Wrigley. Even as a Cubs fan, I'm OK with that logic. At least it wasn't another uncreative attack on Cubs fans. (Platoon Advantage )

HIS NAME IS TREY: Of course it is. The grandchild of Ken Griffey and son of Ken Griffey Jr., Trey Griffey, is looking to break into the collegiate sports world. Only he wants to play football. He's in the 2012 recruiting class, but unfortunately he's only been offered by Florida International. Still, the wideout does still have his senior  year and some pretty enticing bloodlines. (Dr. Saturday )

UBALDO THE ROCKS' WORST STARTING PITCHER? Say what? Beyond the Box Score measures this question with some data. I don't think anyone would predict this would be the case for the entire season, especially if Ubaldo Jimenez is completely healthy. The broader point is that with Esmil Rogers, Jason Hammel and Jhoulys Chacin coming into their own while Jorge De La Rosa throws well, the Rockies' rotation is pretty deep. It's a big part of the reason the Rockies are off to a franchise-best start and have done so pretty much without the help of Jimenez or Carlos Gonzalez.

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Posted on: April 17, 2011 9:17 pm
 

O's Matusz nowhere close to returning

Brian MatuszBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Orioles could certainly use some help in their rotation, as the team's starters have an 8.45 ERA in the seven-game losing streak, but it's not going to come from Brian Matusz.

Matusz is still "several weeks away" from pitching for the Orioles, Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Sunday that Matusz is still feeling pain in the strained left intercoastal muscle that has kept him on the disable list. Matusz still hasn't been cleared to throw off a mound. He's currently at the team's spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla., participating in a throwing program.

"He'll be down there. I wouldn't place a closed end on it. It's still open," Showalter said. "We'll see how he feels the next few days. We're not going to rush that. … History will show you that if you try to get ahead of yourself, you're going to regret it, so we're not going to do that."

Showalter said he hopes the left-hander will stop feeling that pain in the next couple of days. Until then, though, the won't rush him.

Matusz went 10-12 with a  4.30 ERA last season in 32 starts, striking out 142 batters in 175 2/3 innings. He finished fifth in Rookie of the Year voting in the American League.

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Posted on: April 4, 2011 12:32 pm
Edited on: April 4, 2011 6:50 pm
 

O's rotation gets another shakeup

UPDATE (6:45 p.m. EST): Guthrie has been diagnosed with a form of pneumonia and scratched from his scheduled Wednesday start. Brad Bergesen will get the ball in his absence.

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jeremy Guthrie The Orioles' rotation shuffle may not be done as Wednesday's starter, Jeremy Guthrie went to the hospital with a viral infection on Monday, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun tweets .

The Orioles are hoping Guthrie, pictured, can still make his start Wednesday against the Tigers, but if not, Brad Bergesen would replace him.

"He started running a fever yesterday," manager Buck Showalter told reporters, including MASNSports.com's Roch Kubatko . "We thought we got it under control. Talking to him last night when we got here, he felt pretty good, but somewhere between that and today, his fever spiked back up. He's over there now trying to get a grip on what we're dealing with.

"I'm not sure if he'll be here or not. I expect him to probably come in and give us an update on where he is with it, but right now he's still tentatively scheduled to pitch on Wednesday. We'll see what the next couple of days bring. We'll probably make a decision on that tomorrow."

Bergesen had been expected to be the team's fifth starter, but started the season in the bullpen because the team wouldn't need a fifth starter until April 10.

The Orioles already had to mess with their rotation when Brian Matusz went on the disabled list on Friday due to back pain. To make up for Matusz's injury, the team moved Chris Tillman up a day to start on Saturday against Tampa Bay, while the team called up Zach Britton from Triple-A to start Sunday against the Rays.

Even with the shuffling, the Orioles starters have been good through three games. Guthrie went eight shutout innings on opening day, Tillman didn't allow a hit in six innings on Saturday and Britton gave up just three hits and a run in six innings yesterday. Jake Arrieta makes his first start of the season this afternoon against the Tigers.

Scouts told CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler that Britton may have been the Orioles' best pitcher this spring and even better than hyped Yankees prospect Manny Banuelos.

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Posted on: April 3, 2011 11:56 am
Edited on: April 3, 2011 1:24 pm
 

Pepper: The amazing Ichiro

Ichiro Suzuki

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Edgar Martinez isn't in the Hall of Fame, but he has a heck of a case.

Martinez is one of eight players -- along with Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Stan Musical, Rogers Hornsby, Lou Gehrig, Manny Ramirez and Todd Helton -- to have 300 home runs, 500 doubles, a career .300 batting average, a career on-base percentage better than .400 and a career slugging higher than .500.

 The former Mariners designated hitter finished his career with a career 147 OPS+, while hitting .312 in 18 seasons. Martinez made seven All-Star teams and won five Silver Sluggers as a designated hitter.  In 2004, Major League Baseball renamed its Outstanding Designated Hitter Award for Martinez.

In short, Martinez was a phenomenal hitter.

And with 2,247 hits, Martinez had led all Mariners in career hits until Saturday night when Ichiro Suzuki broke his mark with two hits in the Mariners' 5-2 victory over the A's.

It took Martinez -- as we noted, one of the best hitters of his generation -- 18 seasons to amass 2,247. Ichiro passed it in the second game of his 11th season. 

Sometimes I think it's easy to forget just how good Suzuki is. Maybe because he plays in the late games and the Mariners haven't been good lately, but Suzuki's career is one for the ages.

In each of his first 10 seasons, Suzuki has had at least 200 hits. He's already the Mariners' career leader in stolen bases (386), triples (71) and batting average (.331) and needs 425 at-bats to pass Martinez in that category.

If you add the 1,278 hits Suzuki had in his time in Japan, he has 3,526 career hits and could finish his professional career with more hits than Pete Rose's 4,256 in the big leagues. While not quite the same and not the MLB record, it'd still be an impressive feat, especially with shorter seasons in Japan.

Martinez passed Ken Griffey Jr. as the team's all-time hits leader on April 3, 2001, just days into Suzuki's tenure with the Mariners. The two played together for several years, and Suzuki said Saturday he was humbled by passing Martinez.

"Today I broke his record. When you look at his numbers, that's a fact," Ichiro said through interpreter Antony Suzuki (via MLB.com). "But he is a hero back in Seattle. He is my hero as well. When you look at his existence, he's a lot bigger than I am, being a great human being as well. So that's how I look at it.

"I played with Edgar for years. That's something that is important to me. That's precious. That's a treasure to me. That's what I honor as well."

Royals' FUTURE FLUSH -- After the Royals beat the Angels on Saturday, it was time for the real show -- Kansas City's Double-A and Triple-A teams faced off at Kauffman Stadium to a healthy crowd ready to see baseball's most hyped prospects in person. About half the crowd of 18,022 for the Royals-Angels game stayed to watch the likes of Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer. [Kansas City Star]

NO PLATOON FOR PANDA -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy has assured Pablo Sandoval that he will not be part of a platoon at third base this season. Sandoval sat against lefty Ted Lilly on Saturday, but that was a matchup thing, Bochy told him. [San Jose Mercury News]

WAITING FOR HOLLIDAY -- The Cardinals aren't going to put outfielder Matt Holliday on the disabled list right away, hoping to avoid a trip altogether. Holliday had an appendectomy on Friday and was discharged from the hospital on Saturday. The Cardinals will wait a couple of days to see whether Holliday will be able to come back in time to avoid a DL trip. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

DEBUT -- Zach Britton may have been the Orioles' best starter this spring, but when time came for the final cuts, he still found himself headed to Triple-A Norfolk -- until the Orioles' best rookie of 2010, Brian Matusz, was placed on the DL with a left intercostal muscle strain. Britton, who had a 1.35 ERA in spring, will start today against the Rays. [MLB.com]

FAMILIAR FACE -- Roy Oswalt will make his first career start against Houston today. [MLB.com]

MAGGLIO OUT -- Magglio Ordonez isn't playing in today's game against the Yankees because of a sore right ankle. Ordonez was lifted for a defensive replacement in the sixth inning of Saturday's loss. Tigers manager Jim Leyland said it was mostly a precautionary move. [MLB.com]

DANKS OK -- John Danks had some dental work on Saturday, but won't miss his start today against the Indians. [MLB.com]

LONG NAME, LONG LAYOFF -- Nationals lefty Tom Gorzelanny will have 15 days between his final spring training start and his first regular-season start on April 9, but he is unconcerned. [Washington Post]

Padres LOVE THE BUNT -- The Padres new No. 3 hitter, Orlando Hudson, laid down a sacrifice bunt in the fifth inning of Saturday's game against the Cardinals. The Padres have had their No. 3 hitter sacrifice 20 times in the last 20 years. [Ducksnorts]

AARDSMA CLOSER -- The Mariners may get closer David Aardsma back sooner rather than later, manager Eric Wedge told reporters. [Seattle Times]

CLOSE SHAVE -- Rays starter Wade Davis will shave his head -- well, at least the top of it, his beard is staying -- following today's game. The shave is for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation's Cut for a Cure and is hoping to raise $10,000. As of Saturday, he'd raised $8,000 with his vow to go bald. [Tampa Tribune]

30-DOWN -- How Brian Wilson got into the New York Times crossword puzzle. [New York Times]

DIFFERENT WAY TO THE BIGS -- Former 16th-round draft pick Griffin Benedict has given up his dream of playing in the big leagues, instead accepting the Padres' offer of joining the team as its second bullpen catcher. Benedict is the son of former big-league catcher Bruce Benedict. He hit .229 at low Class A Fort Wayne last season. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

PATCH FEVER -- There's a total of eight memorial patches on MLB uniforms this summer. The Reds, Tigers, Pirates, Indians, Phillies, Dodgers, Cubs and Mariners are all sporting patches honoring people who have passed in the last year. While the Indians have gotten rave reviews of their Bob Feller patch (and for good reason), I'm a really big fan of the Pirates' Chuck Tanner patch as well. [Uniwatch Blog]

AT-BAT MUSIC -- Reds official blogger Jamie Ramsey has a list of all the at-bat music for the Reds this season. [Better Off Red]

WHITE TELLS ALL -- The New York Times has great things to say about Bill White's new book, Upity, about his time in baseball, both as a player and a league official.

BOW TIE -- Nice story from FOXSports.com reporter Ken Rosenthal on why he'll wear a bow tie on all telecasts this season. I thought it looked great, and glad to see the direction he's taken it. Good for Ken and Dhani Jones. [FOXSports.com]

FREE GAMES -- If you have the MLB At-Bat for the iPhone, iPad or Android devices, you'll get MLB.tv for free during April. If you're reading this and have an iPhone, iPad or Android device, you need to spend the $15 for the At-Bat app and this just makes it an even better deal. (You do have to buy separate apps for each device, but it's still totally worth it.) [The Unofficial Apple Weblog]

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Posted on: April 1, 2011 10:03 pm
 

Matusz shelved; Britton to make debut

By Evan Brunell

MatuszBrian Matusz has been experiencing back pain for the last four to five days and underwent an MRI Friday to try to diagnose the problem.

As MASN's Roch Kubatko reports, Matusz was found to have suffered a strained intercostal muscle that will knock him out anywhere from three to five weeks. As a result, Chris Tillman has been bumped up from Sunday to take Matusz's place Saturday. While many felt that Brad Bergesen could be the starter Sunday, the team is instead going with prospect phenom Zach Britton.

Britton was slated to start the season in Triple-A even though he has proven that it's time for him to be in the majors. While the promotion is somewhat odd as the Orioles were hoping to save on service time, Baltimore can still do that by demoting Britton a few weeks into the season once Matusz returns.

However, they've now opened the door to Britton staying in the majors the entire season. After all, if he gets off to a scorching start while Chris Tillman falls flat on his face, how can they justify demoting Britton?

Matusz, for his part, likely will take several days without throwing as he was struggling to throw even 10 feet, as MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli says. If the Orioles are wise, they will take every precaution possible in Matusz's rehab. A strained muscle can plague the entire year if not treated properly, and there's far too much invested in Matusz to run the risk of a lingering injury.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com