The Orioles didn’t want to lose Brian Matusz after one inning tonight, but they removed him as a precaution after he blocked Yunel Escobar’s liner with his left triceps.
Something good came out of the bad, however. His name is Rick VandenHurk.
VandenHurk has retired all 12 batters he’s faced since entering the game in the second. Pitching for the first time since Sept. 2, he’s struck out three batters and protected a 2-0 lead as if it’s a newborn.
VandenHurk has induced six fly balls - three to center and three to right - two grounders to third and one to short. He’s thrown 41 pitches in four perfect innings.
It’s still possible that he could make a few starts before the season ends. Manager Buck Showalter confirmed that the idea remains in play, though we’re not sure exactly how or when it would unfold.
So far, he looks like a nugget to me.
Imagine if he wasn’t rusty.
Instant update: Oops. Edwin Encarnacion just hit a 384-foot homer leading off the sixth.