Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter still view left-hander Brian Matusz as a starter down the road. It’s the current path that has led Matusz into the bullpen.
As I wrote earlier, Matusz is available to pitch in relief tonight at Triple-A Norfolk. It’s conceivable that he could rejoin the Orioles in that same role as they attempt to end their lengthy playoff drought.
“It’s for now. It’s to address a need we have in the big leagues that we’ve been trying to address,” Duquette said.
“We’ve been considering it for a little while. We were trying to see if we could add another left-hander to our bullpen, so we looked at some of our internal options, too, Brian’s always had a good record of getting out lefties, his whole career. He gets out lefties very, very well.”
Asked if he remains confident that Matusz can be a successful starting pitcher, Duquette replied, “Yes, I do.”
Showalter said earlier today that Matusz could start for the Orioles again this season. So much depends on Matusz’s effectiveness coming out of the bullpen.
The Orioles needed Matusz to be receptive to the move.
“We discussed it with him,” Duquette said. “For him to succeed, he’d have to be open to it. He’s open to it. He may get the call tonight. See how he does.
“We’d like for him to get some experience on the job, get comfortable with the warmup routine. It’s a different job. There are different physical requirements, different requirements to prepare and succeed.
“He can control the running game and he’s in good shape. And I think one of the keys is him wanting to do it. I think that’s a real key.”
Duquette continues to search for ways to upgrade the roster, but nothing appears to be imminent. He seems satisfied with the corner infielders now that rookie Manny Machado has become the regular third baseman, and he views Jason Hammel’s expected return in early September as “the equivalent of adding a veteran starter.”
“That would help the team,” Duquette said.