09/06/11 10:59 PM ET
Orioles take Matusz out of starting rotation
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
"There are two sides to it," manager Buck Showalter said Tuesday of the decision to not give Matusz another start. "I'm a father first. I don't like to see anybody get beat up on. I don't think that Brian is at a point right now where he can defend himself properly. It's not going to be a matter of him throwing 94 or 93 miles per hour. He can pitch just like he is, stuff-wise. It's just command issues and repeating his delivery and a lot of things he's aware of.
"I feel for him, but not to the point where ... he knows nobody is going to feel sorry for him in that other clubhouse. He's got it. He understands a lot more than what people may perceive about what's going on."
Matusz tied the shortest non-injury start of his career, with 1 1/3 innings of five-run ball at Yankee Stadium and has pitched to an 11.42 ERA in four starts since being recalled from Triple-A. He is 1-7 with a 9.84 ERA on the season.
"Obviously failure is not fun," Matusz said. "I'm going to continue to learn from it. And I'm sure at one point down the road, I'll be able to look at it and say, 'I learned a lot from that season.' That's the overall goal.
"But I'm going to keep at it. I like playing this game, that's the reason why I'm here. I love this game, I love doing it, I love being around the guys and having that challenge of going out there and competing. So for me, I'm going to keep at it and keep a positive attitude."
Those positives are few and far between this season. Since missing the first two months with a left intercostal muscle strain that forced him to the disabled list after making the Opening Day roster as a frontline starter, Matusz has been unable to find his footing. The Orioles' first-round Draft pick in 2008, Matusz was the American League Rookie of the Month last August, going 6-0 with a 1.57 ERA in his last eight starts down the stretch and finishing the season tops among AL rookies in strikeouts and games started.
That dazzling form has been missing in 2011. Matusz has one win in 11 starts, a 5 1/3-innings outing against Oakland that was followed with seven consecutive losses before Monday's no-decision.
"I don't know that he's doing us any good or we're doing him any good [by keeping him in the rotation]," president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said of Matusz after witnessing Monday's game.
While Matusz has admitted he didn't come to camp in the best shape, he has made an effort to get back on track with his conditioning and maintains that his struggles aren't a result of injury.
"Placing the exact reason on one thing, would be nice," Matusz said of his struggles. "It'd be nice to be able to do that and fix that problem. But for me, I'm not going to sit here and waste my time trying to figure out what the exact reason is. I'm just going to continue to work on things I need to do to be a better pitcher, and that's it."
"He's got a pretty good idea of where he is -- mentally, physically and emotionally," Showalter said. "Maybe we might get him back out there for some spots where he might pitch an inning or two and kind of see where he is with some of the things that I'm sure he'll be working on. He's got a lot of work to do between now and next April. I look forward to him coming back and competing for a place on our team next year."
Anniversary of Cal's record a reminder of feat
NEW YORK -- Tuesday marked a particularly special day in Orioles' history, with the 16-year anniversary of Cal Ripken Jr. playing in his 2,131st consecutive Major League game, breaking the previous record held by Lou Gehrig.
"[It'll] never happen [again]," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said when asked if he thought any player would get close to Ripken's record. "I'm not real sure how it happened to start with. It's amazing. I love to listen to Richie [Bancells] -- our trainer -- tell stories about it. I look at the way I consider Nicky [Markakis] and Adam Jones and some of the people and I can't imagine doing that for that length of time. It's amazing. It's as impressive a stat as any in sports for me."
"It was a different era," mused Hall of Fame pitcher and current Oriole broadcaster Jim Palmer. "It's amazing. I always tell people who asked me how I pitched so long, they didn't have MRIs back then. They had MRIs when Cal was playing ... he just wouldn't let them give him one."
Nicknamed "Iron Man," Ripken played 21 years, all in Baltimore, and his breaking of Gehrig's 56-year-old record is considered one of the greatest accomplishments in a career filled with achievements. Tuesday also marked the 15th anniversary of Orioles great Eddie Murray hitting his 500th career home run.
Davis activated off DL, starts at third for Orioles
NEW YORK-- Infielder Chris Davis was activated from the 15-day disabled list and started Tuesday's game at third base, a position Davis is prepared to play more of with Mark Reynolds' better defense at first than third.
Activating Davis (right shoulder strain) was one of five moves made by the Orioles prior to Tuesday's game. The team purchased the contracts of Triple-A pitchers Jeremy Accardo and Clay Rapada -- designating for assignment Mark Hendrickson and Blake Davis to clear room on the 40-man roster -- and recalled infielder Josh Bell. Infielder Pedro Florimon Jr. was also recalled from Double-A Bowie.
Davis went 3-for-6 in two rehab games with Bowie and said Tuesday afternoon he was surprised with how well his shoulder responded to rest and strengthening exercises. The 25-year-old Davis has been hoping to avoid surgery on his shoulder -- which an MRI revealed has a slight labrum tear -- a scenario that is far more likely now given how good he feels physically.
"I was just missing pitches, popping them up, rolling them over," Davis said of his attempt to play with the preexisting injury, which he aggravated when the team was in Kansas City last month.
"I really didn't realize how bad it was until a couple days ago, when I swung and I actually felt good to have the bat go all the way through the zone. It's one of those things you try to put up with was much as you can because you don't want to go on the DL. But once you rehab it and see where you are, you realize how bad it was."
Acquired in a non-waiver Trade Deadline deal with Texas, Davis hit .225 with one homer and three RBIs in 10 games with Baltimore before landing on the DL.
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.