The Orioles received a dose of good news and a dose of bad news, so they’re playing .500 today.
The bad news is related to left-hander Brian Matusz, who fouled a bunted ball off his nose and might miss tomorrow night’s start against the Pirates.
Matusz was preparing for the next round of interleague games on the road, where the pitcher is required to hit. He was squaring up against a pitching machine, since batting practice was cancelled due to the rain.
“It’s off the machine,” manager Buck Showalter said, “so we have nobody to blame for it.”
The Orioles are activating Brian Roberts from the 60-day disabled list today - that’s the good news - but they won’t announce their corresponding 25-man roster move until learning the severity of Matusz’s injury.
As I wrote earlier, Nolan Reimold will go on the 60-day disabled list to clear room on the 40-man roster.
Gonzalez wouldn’t be required to stay down for a minimum of 10 days if he’s replacing someone on the disabled list.
Whether Matusz goes on the DL depends largely on the swelling around his eyes.
“He was bleeding pretty good out of his nose,” Showalter said. “He’s got some cotton up there. And it’s obviously swollen. I don’t know if we’ll be able to get pictures enough here to definitively know whether it’s broken or not.
“It’s probably more a matter of comfort level with his breathing.”
The Orioles aren’t making an official announcement on Roberts’ activation until they’re sure that the game won’t be postponed. He’s starting at second base and batting leadoff.
“It’s exciting,” Showalter said. “I know it is for Robby. He’s done everything possible you could do and the one common response I’ve gotten from our people in Delmarva and Bowie and Norfolk is how hard he’s playing, how he tested everything. I don’t know what else we could do. He’s basically had the equivalent of a spring training, and there’s only one road left to cross, as far as we’re concerned, and that’s playing here.”
Showalter had a good feeling about Roberts’ return after seeing the look on the second baseman’s face
“When he was getting up the next day and feeling well and not having two good days and one bad,” Showalter said. “I think there’s a lesson for all of us. There’s not some chart that tells you when each one of us will come back from some form of a concussion. And there’s still some uncharted territory.
“You can imagine what’s going on with Brian. It’s a big deal to him and our club.
“You don’t get to this level and do the things he’s done without being strong mentally. A lot of guys, with the challenges that Brian’s faced, might have packed it in. That would have been a way some people might have taken. But he loves to play, he loves the game of baseball and he loves the Orioles. I wouldn’t deny him the ability to do anything. It’s a little emotional lift for us to get him back. We’ve had a certain void there in the leadoff spot for a while. The void is because you’re trying to replace Brian Roberts, and a lot of people are going to finish second.”
Showalter doesn’t have a set schedule in mind for Roberts, saying, “I’m going to take it each day as it comes.”
“I know he’ll be very frank with me and that’s what I want him to be,” Showalter said. “I want to trust that, because he might need a day here or there, he’s not going to think, ‘Woe is me. Here we go.’ “
Showalter said he met today with Robert Andino, who’s vacating second base and has no complaints about doing it.
“I’ve talked to Robert,” Showalter said. “You never want to assume something. It’s gotten back to me that Robert’s been responding as you’d expect him to. He’s a big fan of Brian. He loves watching him play. He told me that again today. And he just wants to win. And the good thing about Robert is he’s established himself as such that he doesn’t have to look over his shoulder. I’ll always be looking for ways to get him involved. He’s a contributor to us. We’re always in need of someone who can do a lot of different things.
“I think Robert, like all guys, could use a day here and there. It’s only going to make him better. This guy plays the game at a high clip. He’s all over the field defensively, and we ask a lot of him.”
Andino will do some work in the outfield.
“I don’t think you’ve seen the last of Robert Andino. I can tell you that,” Showalter said. “I have a long memory of what he’s done for us.”
Update: To make room for Roberts on the roster, the club optioned Steve Tolleson to Triple-A Norfolk. Tolleson batted .237/.275/.447 in 12 games for the Orioles.