Quick Matusz update (plus Hardy and Machado)

Brian Matusz went two innings today in an extended spring training game in Sarasota, and he threw 12-15 pitches in each inning. He faced six batters, and more important, he felt good.

Matusz is scheduled to pitch again on Wednesday, and he'll go three innings.

If Matusz stays on schedule, he could be activated on May 21 or 26. He would be limited to five innings (depending on pitch count) if he comes off the disabled list on the earlier date, so the condition of the bullpen could play a big role in that decision.

The 21st seems unlikely, but manager Buck Showalter tossed out that date as a possibility, so I'm passing it along.

Also, Alfredo Simon is here. He'll throw a bullpen session tomorrow before starting again Wednesday morning at Double-A Bowie.

Showalter noted that Simon seems "upbeat" and looks in "good shape."

Cesar Izturis will start at shortstop tomorrow.

The reports on J.J. Hardy last night were positive. Besides going 1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored at Triple-A Norfolk, he also made a great play up in the field - ranging up the middle, spinning and throwing out the runner.

Hardy could be activated on Tuesday.

Also, Showalter reminded reporters that Norfolk third baseman Josh Bell suffered a similar injury to Manny Machado's, and he only missed a few games. Machado dislocated his left kneecap Thursday night, but it sounds like a "slight" dislocation.

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