Matusz will return to Sarasota

As expected, the Orioles will send left-hander Brian Matusz to Sarasota next weekend while they embark on a two-city road trip that begins Friday in Chicago.

Matusz will throw from 120 feet tomorrow and throw bullpen sessions here on Tuesday and Thursday. He’ll pitch in an extended spring training game in Sarasota, and will require at least three starts on his injury rehab assignment, placing his projected return to the Orioles’ rotation in the middle of May.

Manager Buck Showalter said the Orioles have set up Matusz’s schedule “in the most conservative manner.”

J.J. Hardy will begin baseball-related activities on Monday by taking dry swings. There’s no set date for his activation from the disabled list, but he’ll require at least two games on his injury rehab assignment.

Justin Duchscherer continues to throw off flat ground at the minor league complex in Sarasota.

Also, Chris Tillman is available to pitch out of the bullpen tonight, but Showalter hopes to avoid using him.

Pitcher Steve Johnson is returning to Double-A Bowie today, with left-hander Troy Patton activated from the seven-day disabled list and rejoining Triple-A Norfolk. Johnson had been scheduled to start Tuesday for the Tides.

Freddy Garcia will start for the Yankees tomorrow.

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