More musings on Matusz and other matters

If rain forces a postponement in one of the two remaining games at Yankee Stadium, I suggest an extreme split-doubleheader Thursday. Play one game in the Bronx and one at Camden Yards.

The two teams have to go back to Baltimore for a makeup game, much to the chagrin of Yankees manager Joe Girardi and everyone else on the payroll. May as well play two.

OK, that idea won’t fly, but at least I’m thinking outside the box.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter indicated yesterday during his postgame interview on MASN that his decision on Brian Matusz’s immediate future as a starter could impact whether Jim Johnson moves into the rotation.

Johnson is more likely to become a starter this month if Matusz is removed from the rotation. And Showalter wasn’t ready to make any declarations on the air. That’s not how Matusz will learn his fate.

There’s a good chance that confirmation will come behind closed doors in the manager’s office.

Matusz is 0-3 with an 11.43 ERA in four starts since being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk. He’s allowed 28 hits in 17 1/3 innings.

He conceded yesterday that most of his problems are mental rather than mechanical. He’s endured one hardship after another since reporting to spring training. He’s still trying to get stronger via a weight-training program while also trying to rediscover the command that enabled him to go 6-0 with a 1.57 ERA in his final eight starts of 2010.

The Orioles can go in four directions with Matusz this month. They can keep running him out there every five or six days and continue evaluating him. They can put him in the bullpen and let him continue to work through his problems without putting his team in an early hole. They can send him home with precise instructions on what they expect from him over the winter. They can keep him with the team and let him throw bullpen sessions, but not use him in anymore games.

Of all the choices, the first one seems the least likely. It’s highly doubtful that Matusz will make another start.

Matusz would benefit from better conditioning and one pitching coach. He also could use one mulligan, but he won’t find one.

Johnson tossed three innings yesterday after going two innings in each of his previous two appearances.

It still seems apparent that he’s being stretched out so he can start. It’s not like going three innings yesterday will make him available in relief the next few days.

This also could explain why the Orioles are clearing spots on the 40-man roster for relievers Clay Rapada and Jeremy Accardo. The bullpen already lost Koji Uehara and Michael Gonzalez. Johnson’s role change would punch another hole in the back end of it.

Chris Davis is coming off the disabled list, but I don’t think Mark Reynolds is coming off first base. Davis is expected to mostly play third base, as long as his shoulder allows it. If Reynolds is being evaluated at first, it makes sense for Davis to undergo the same scrutiny at the opposite corner.

Showalter showed his faith in second baseman Ryan Adams, or maybe it was curiosity, by letting the rookie face Yankees closer Mariano Rivera yesterday with two outs in the top of the ninth inning and the Orioles trailing by two runs. Adams singled to score Reynolds.

Each time the Orioles need to clear room on their 40-man roster, I wonder whether Double-A Bowie shortstop Pedro Florimon is going to be removed. Now he’s being promoted to the majors after batting .267 with 26 doubles, four triples, eight homers, 60 RBIs and 26 errors.

I’ve pointed this out before, but I still find it interesting that Brendan Harris never made it back to the majors this season after being included in the J.J. Hardy deal. Harris hit his 10th homer yesterday for Norfolk, but he finished with a .225 average after going 2-for-4.

Should Brandon Snyder read anything into his exclusion from the list of call-ups?

Snyder batted .261 with 21 doubles, 14 homers, 71 RBIs and a .718 OPS with the Tides. The Orioles must not have envisioned many at-bats for him this month with Reynolds, Davis and Jake Fox capable of playing first base. Nick Markakis, too.

Speaking of Fox, what’s the guy got to do to get another at-bat this season?

And finally, was Maryland’s football team serious last night with that helmet and uniform?

If any Terps are arrested this season, it will be by the fashion police.

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