Matusz ready to debut

Brian Matusz played catch today with Jeremy Guthrie, and he’ll throw a bullpen session tomorrow for pitching coach Mark Connor.

Unless his left arm falls off, Matusz will start Wednesday against the Seattle Mariners.

Notice that I say “left arm.” I think he’ll still take the ball if his right arm becomes detached.

Jim and Rick interview Brian Matusz about his health and his pending return

Seriously though, Matusz is ready after making his third injury rehab start last night at Triple-A Norfolk. His velocity increased and his command improved. And he stated on “O’s Xtra” that he didn’t feel sore today while long tossing in the outfield.

It’s time for Matusz to get his 2011 season in motion.

Has it really been two months since he was scratched from his first start at Tropicana Field?

Actually, it will be exactly two months on Thursday, one day after Matusz takes on the Mariners.

Matusz has never faced them in his major league career. Just one of those quirks.

On a separate topic, Connor told MASN’s Gary Thorne that Matt Wieters is the best defensive catcher he’s seen in his 26 years as a coach or instructor. That’s quite a compliment.

Wieters isn’t starting for the second time in three games, but it’s not a health issue. The Orioles have a day game tomorrow and Showalter wants to pair Wieters with left-hander Zach Britton. And it’s evident that Showalter is more comfortable with Craig Tatum behind the plate than Jake Fox.

Wieters was busy last night with Chris Tillman, Alfredo Simon and Michael Gonzalez running up their pitch counts. He could use another breather.

Also, Showalter told reporters in Oakland that first baseman Derrek Lee will start baseball activities tomorrow in Sarasota.

I wrote a few days ago that Showalter is faced with a lineup challenge because he only wants Felix Pie or Robert Andino leading off. He wanted to give second baseman Ryan Adams a start tonight while also keeping Nolan Reimold in left field, so Andino had to shift to third base and Mark Reynolds had to shift to first.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria homered today while batting leadoff for the first time in his career.

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