BALTIMORE -- As expected, left-hander Brian Matusz will go back to extended spring camp next weekend when the Orioles embark on a two-city road trip, making his earliest return date mid-May.

Matusz, on the disabled list with a strained left intercostal muscle, will throw on flat ground on Sunday and in the bullpen in some capacity on Tuesday and Thursday. The plan is for Matusz to progress enough to throw a two-inning stint in extended spring camp before joining an affiliate.

"One, we know that the weather will be better there and we'd like to have his first outing be in that type of weather," manager Buck Showalter said. "Who knows what it's going to be [with] our affiliates? We'd rather have [Matusz] right there so when he's ready to go, he can go and we can kind of pick and choose where the best place might be from there."

After leaving the O's complex in Sarasota, Fla., Matusz will need at least three rehab outings to rebuild his strength enough to start Major League games. Showalter said that the Orioles have a plan laid out conservatively up to when Matusz would be activated, but the manager didn't divulge specific details.

"It's pretty one-sided for all of us," Showalter said when asked if it was tough to be patient, given that the 24-year-old Matusz is the O's No. 2 starter. "We're going to get it right. We're not going to have this [continue]."

Cautious O's won't force Tillman back

BALTIMORE -- Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman, who did not make it out of the second inning the last time he faced the Yankees, was eagerly anticipating getting another shot against New York on Saturday night.

But Tillman won't get that chance, as Baltimore used Friday's postponement to skip his turn in the rotation and help the pitcher who has been plagued by right groin soreness get back to 100 percent.

"It's a lot disappointing," said Tillman, who likely won't get another start until April 30. "I'm not happy about it. But I think it's an issue that if we don't take care of it, it can be a lot longer. I think history has proven that. I'd rather get it out of the way now than have to deal with it throughout the whole season."

Tillman said he has felt some discomfort while making his last three starts, and several instances -- such as a slip on the mound and one while he was going to back up home plate -- haven't helped. In the past, Tillman has pitched through pain, but given Friday's rainout -- and Monday's off-day -- the Orioles don't need a fifth starter until next Saturday's game in Chicago.

The 23-year-old Tillman said he has felt good for the past few days and this last start was the "less of the three" in terms of discomfort.

"It's been something that's nagged me quite a bit," Tillman said. "Definitely not fun pitching through."

Tillman will be available out of the bullpen, although manager Buck Showalter said the team will stay away from using him if it can. In his first four starts, Tillman is 0-2 with a 6.16 ERA.

Tidbits

Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy, on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, is targeting Monday to start baseball-related activities. Manager Buck Showalter said those will likely involve just taking dry swings and that the shortstop will need a couple of rehab games once he progresses enough in extended spring camp. ... Pitchers Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton and Jeremy Guthrie visited nearly 20 young patients at Johns Hopkins Hospital on Friday afternoon. The group visited children in the teenage and school-age operating wards and the children's oncology ward ... Right-hander Justin Duchscherer, out with a left hip strain, continues to throw in extended spring camp. Duchscherer is on the 60-day disabled list and cannot be activated until at least May 30.