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April 1, 2011

MacPhail says Matusz injury could alter Britton to minors decision

The big question with Brian Matusz’s injury – to the intercostal muscle in the left middle part of his back -- is whether it could change the club’s stance on lefty Zach Britton, who was sent to Triple-A Norfolk to start the season despite having the best spring of any Orioles’ starter.

The simple answer is yes, it could.

“It could depending on what kind of news we get (on Matusz) and how long term we’re looking,” Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said.

The Orioles were expected to keep Britton, 23, down in the minors for at least 20 days, which would stop his big-league service clock from registering a full season in 2011 – meaning he wouldn’t be eligible for free agency until 2017 (instead of 2016).

But with Matusz, the club’s No. 2 starter potentially heading to the disabled list, the Orioles could be forced to bring up Britton.

The Orioles will know more after a MRI today on Matusz, who, according to manager Buck Showalter, was in acute pain today after playing catch.

“I was hoping it was an April Fool’s joke,” MacPhail said about Matusz’s injury. “It’s just one of those things. You get these throughout the course of the year. You just have to deal with them as best as you can.”

Posted by Dan Connolly at 5:57 PM | | Comments (10)


When will the training staff be held accountable? This is every year!

Steve D...he got hit by a liner. Please tell me how you train that out of a pitcher.

So let me get this straight - the guy who prides himself on slow, deliberate, intelligent decisions is now going into full panic mode and is willing to cost the Orioles an entire year of owning Zach Britton just to win a few more games in a season in which there is zero chance of even vaguely competing.

The Matusz situation is not news - we get a potentially great pitcher and we ruin him. Happens every year.

Andy, show a little gray matter action and leave Britton down on the farm for a month or however long itt is. We can just as easily ruin him next year as this one.

Christopher...he got hit in the bicep...not his back. He pitched a few innings of simulated ball the other day and proclaimed himself fine for his first start. It's something that's just come up. Where have you guys been all spring? I live in New Zealand and I'm able to keep up with the latest.

Steve D. you think these guys aren't conditioning training? Shit happens man...relax dude.

why aren't the orioles saying how matsuz has all of the sudden developed back certainly doesn't get back problems from a line drive to the arm.

As much as I want Britton in the majors, the only prudent thing is to keep him in the minors for 20 days. There are other options for the first 3 weeks. For this short of time frame, they got to focus on the business side first. Don't hit the panic button yet - we need to look at the long term here.

christopher it was his back that is hurt not his arm but still injuries happen

Steve D and Fang, let's never hang out. Typical whiny Baltimoran curmudgeons.

Can't believe the crap I read on these blogs! So everyone rails on McPhail for not bringing one of the best 5 pitchers north and now he gets ragged on for bringing him north. Great job Andy has! Can't win can he?

Fang, you really think the O's think they have ZERO chance of even vaguely competing this year? This Britton move proves they are trying to compete for a playoff spot this year. They might not get it but that is the goal this year. They will worry about 2017 when it gets here and hopefully Britton will still have a healthy arm worth signing to a long term contract at that time. Let the guy pitch when he has a healthy arm and can have a productive year.

I'm taking this from a positive light. Matusz goes down, but Britton comes up to the bigs to replace him. This may be history in the making with a rookie, similar to Strasburg with the Nats, coming in and blowing everyone away. Maybe this is fate and something that benefits Britton. I was against bringing him up, but the O's have very little options left. Give him a chance and see what happens! Go O's!

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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