OAKLAND -- Orioles catcher Matt Wieters has seen the television replays of Giants catcher Buster Posey's home-plate collision and watched as the young backstop's left leg buckled underneath him before he collapsed in a heap. The 25-year-old Wieters has been in that compromising position multiple times and knows he's fortunate to have gotten through them unscathed.
That's why Wieters' first reaction when he heard the news about Posey -- who suffered a broken lower left leg and torn ligaments in his ankle in the 12th inning of Wednesday's loss to the Marlins -- wasn't about the firestorm of debate regarding a rule change or whether the play could have been avoided. It was empathy from one young catcher to another as Wieters -- who knows Posey from opposing collegiate fields and the Johnny Bench Award ceremony -- was saddened to hear of the potential season-ending incident.
"You never want to see a guy miss some time," said Wieters, who reached out to former teammate Aubrey Huff to relay his regards to Posey.
"You can feel for a guy like [Joe] Mauer, too, who has had to miss time. You feel for guys like that because that's what makes this sport so great, is the great players in the game. And the way Buster had his rookie year last year and started this year, baseball is going to miss him."
Wieters said the usual aftermath of a play at the plate is a lingering headache, and when asked to critique Posey's positioning, he said there are ways to limit the risk but it's much easier said than done.
"You can try and have your foot pointed toward third base to give yourself a better chance of not getting buckled under," Wieters said. "It's something when it's happening, I know I do it. I know my leg gets bent back ... I've just been fortunate not to get it bent back like that. It's something where, in the heat of the moment, the play at the plate, you are just trying to catch the ball and put a tag on it."
While Posey and his agent have made it clear that they want the play in question -- which involved Marlins reserve Scott Cousins barreling into him to score the go-ahead run -- looked at by both Major League Baseball and the Players' Association, Wieters wasn't sure if a rule change would be the best solution.
"I'd really have to see how they would change the ruling. Are they going to draw a line where a guy can hit the catcher or a guy can't hit the catcher?," he said. "It's something where you are trying to get him out, he's trying to score any way he can. I mean, if it's something where if guys are going out of their way to hit catchers, [sure] ... but if it's something where they are just trying to score a run, then it's part of the game."
"It's been part of the game for a long time. It doesn't mean that it's right or wrong," manager Buck Showalter said of home-plate collisions. "I'd like to think whether it was Buster Posey or a second catcher somewhere, we'd have the same response that we do today. But I don't know if that's the case. I'm sad for him, I'm sad for the fans more than anything. But some things like that are unavoidable. He got caught in a precarious situation. It's tough."
Matusz decision looms for O's
OAKLAND -- Starter Brian Matusz (strained left intercostal muscle) made his third rehab start on Friday night for Triple-A Norfolk, and the Orioles will decide on Saturday whether that will be his last.
While it's been widely speculated that Matusz -- who is expected to rejoin the team in Oakland on Saturday -- would make his next start for Baltimore, manager Buck Showalter said prior to Friday's game that it's not a given.
"It's more than just getting through [Friday]," Showalter said, when asked if it was a possibility that Matusz could make a fourth rehab outing. "It's always possible. We'll see what the reports are that we get back. We'll listen to Brian, but we'll also listen to the people that are there."
Matusz allowed a run on four hits over five-plus innings, and while he wasn't able to go as deep in Friday's game as the Orioles wanted, he was pleased with how he felt in the 83-pitch outing. Matusz told Showalter on the phone it was the "best he's felt and thrown" since the injury, and elaborated further with reporters in Norfolk.
"I felt like I had good control of my fastball," Matusz said. "At times where I got ahead of myself, I was able to slow it down and get back into my own little groove. It felt good, it felt good. I'm right on track."
Both Matusz and Showalter have likened the rehab process to a Spring Training of sorts, given the length of time Matusz -- who was placed on the disabled list retroactive to March 30 -- has missed. Coupled with a pair of extended spring starts, Matusz has hit the 20-inning mark Showalter has referenced -- and in three affiliate outings (15 innings), he has allowed two runs on nine hits and four walks. Matusz has also struck out 10.
"I felt like as the game went on, every inning got better," Matusz said of Friday's start. "I was able to get into my own groove and really focus in on what I do best, and that's slowing the game down and making good pitches."
The Orioles' No. 2 starter, Matusz went 6-0 with 1.57 ERA in his final eight starts in 2010, leading American League rookies in strikeouts (143), innings pitched (175 2/3) and games started (32). He went six innings or more in 20 of those starts, and will help add consistency to the Orioles' rotation, forcing either Chris Tillman or Brad Bergesen to Triple-A or the bullpen.
If he's activated, Matusz would be slated to start on June 1 against the Mariners.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.