Matusz in the rotation: Is it a non-starter?

Matusz in the rotation: Is it a non-starter?
January 23, 2013, 11:15 am

What will the Orioles do with Brian Matusz?

Will he start for them, relieve or be somewhere else?

Last year, out of necessity, the Orioles converted Matusz into a left-handed specialist, and he was great at it.

After being sent to Norfolk in early July, Matusz was at a low point, but after Troy Patton was hurt and J.C. Romero faltered, the Orioles quickly converted him to a reliever. He allowed just two runs in 13 1/3 innings.

“It’s been a good productive off-season so far,“ Matusz said.

Matusz and the Orioles agreed to a one-year, $1.6 million contract last week without going to arbitration.

“It’s nice to have that done and out of the way and prepare for spring and get this thing going,” Matusz said.

“I’m going into this spring with the opportunity to be a starter. I’ve been a starter my whole life until last year. I’d like to go out and fight and try to earn a spot in the starting rotation.”

Matusz lost five games in a row as a starter, and faces stiff competition to try and get back in the rotation. The Orioles want him to pitch starter’s innings in spring training.

He’ll be 26 the day before spring training begins, and less than five years ago, Matusz was the fourth pick in the draft. The investment the Orioles have in Matusz and his youth may make both reluctant to consign him to the bullpen.

“Being 25, being young still, I’d like to have the opportunity to still be a starter. I’ve had my ups and I’ve had my downs, and for me, it’s just a matter of being consistent. I’d like to able to do that in a starting role this season,” Matusz said.

NOTES:

-If the Ravens win the Super Bowl, the Orioles schedule may be adjusted. Generally, the Super Bowl winners host the first Thursday night game of the season, but the Orioles begin an eight-game homestand on Thur. Sept. 5 against the White Sox.

The NFL could adjust the schedule and give the Ravens a Wednesday night game, which was done last year due to President Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.

The Ravens could ask the Orioles to play a Friday doubleheader with Chicago, leaving Thursday open. A Sunday night game is probably not feasible because of parking and traffic issues, unless the Orioles game is moved to 12 p.m., and a Monday night game is out of the question because the Orioles are facing the Yankees.

The Orioles are out of town Sunday Sept. 15.

-The Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation will honor O.J. and Chandra Brigance at “Babe’s Birthday Bash” to be held on Feb. 8 from 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m. at the Sports Legends Museum. Brigance, a former Raven, who is courageously fighting Lou Gehrig’s disease, served as the team’s honorary captain in the AFC Championship Game.