ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - I'd point out that Brian Matusz is snakebit, but that's about the only bad thing that hasn't happened to him in Florida.
Matusz said he began noticing some discomfort in his back last week, and it grew progressively worse until he couldn't throw this afternoon.
"It really did sneak up on me," he said after tonight's 4-1 victory over the Rays. "About four or five days ago, I was feeling some soreness in my lat area. Typical soreness, just like I'd feel after any day throwing. It wasn't until yesterday and I started playing catch that it was hurting. It went from being sore to absolutely hurting. It was painful. I went to the trainers and tried to get treatment yesterday. I got treatment today and went out to throw and I just couldn't do it, it hurt so bad. I couldn't throw the ball 10 feet.
"I got an MRI and the result showed that there's a problem there. There's a strain. I took a cortisone shot to help speed up the healing process. And they're saying three to four weeks until I can pitch in a game. They said possibly 10 days I can start playing catch, depending on how it feels. I've just got to take it day by day. Everyone heals differently, everyone reacts differently, so I'll see how I feel tomorrow.
"The last couple days, it was just typical soreness from throwing. You go out there on a day-by-day basis as a pitcher, and yesterday was the first day that it went from soreness to pain, and I let the trainers know. We're doing everything we can to help it heal as fast as it can so I can get back out there."
I brought up how he must feel snakebit.
"It's little things you've got to take care of that you don't expect. It's part of the game, it's part of being an athlete. You're going to have different things that bother you day-to-day and unfortunately, this one with my back is a little bit more severe than I thought," Matusz said.
"It's tough. It's not fun, especially this time of the season, all the excitement, how well we played today. It's really unfortunate. I'm just going to do whatever I can and work as hard as I can to get back out there. That's pretty much all I can do. Put it behind me and work hard to get back to where I want to be, and that's up here competing."
Britton went 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA in spring training, allowing three earned runs, walking five and striking out 13 in 20 innings.
"I'm not happy about my situation, where I'm at, but Zach pitched his butt off and put himself in a situation that he's just one call away. He got that call," Matusz said.
"We know Zach's ready. He showed it all spring. I'm excited for him. I'm excited for his opportunity and I can't wait to see how well he does at this level."