SARASOTA, Fla. - Brian Matusz had his start last Monday in Clearwater washed away by heavy rains. He lasted two innings today against the Red Sox before the weather caused another cancellation.
If the baseball gods are going to keep messing with him, could they at least bring an umbrella?
Matusz headed to the indoor batting cage with catcher Caleb Joseph and elevated his pitch count from 29 to 70.
“Went back and forth from the windup to the stretch, and just building that pitch count. Being able to get it up, that was the key,” he said. “Threw all the pitches down there with Dave (Wallace) and Scotty McGregor. The goal was to try to treat it like a game-like scenario. Went at it and threw pitches just like it was a game. Mixed all four pitches and that was about it.
“The weather is part of the game of baseball being played outside. But fortunately, with the Phillies game being rained out, I was able to throw the next day and throw five innings against the minor leaguers and get the pitch count up to 60 in that outing. And then here today, being able to throw two out there in the game. Fortunately, we found a window in the game to be able to get that in. And with the rain, being able to finish down in the cage and get the pitch count up to 70, so still being able to make that progression.
“Obviously, it’s not game scenario, but with Dave and Scotty down there, we tried to make it as much like a game scenario as possible.”
Matusz pitched the second inning in a steady rain that increased in intensity.
“I wasn’t sure how the weather was going to play out for us,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to get that window just to get out there and throw against another team, kind of get the routine of starting. Having that pregame routine of going out and playing catch with (Matt) Wieters and warming up and still being able to get two innings in. It’s a positive for today.”
Wei-Yin Chen threw three innings in a Triple-A game on one of the back fields before heading to the cage for additional work.
Newly acquired infielder Steve Lombardozzi drove to Sarasota and wore No. 36 in the dugout. He’s headed back to Lakeland tonight to pick up the rest of his belongings, and he’ll meet the Orioles in Fort Myers for their 1:05 p.m. game against the Twins. Weather permitting, of course.
Lombardozzi, 25, was informed this morning that the Orioles acquired him from the Tigers for infielder Alex Gonzalez.
“It was definitely surprising, but it was part of the business side,” he said.
“It was kind of a wild morning. Getting a bunch of phone calls from family, friends, too, so it’s sad to leave those guys, but I’m excited for this opportunity.”
The Orioles haven’t specified a role for him.
“Not sure yet,” he said. “I just get in here this morning. Still trying to get my feet wet, I guess.
“I think I’m not going to be somebody that’s going to wow you in one night. I do the little things to help the team win. Over the course of a week, two weeks, you’ll see how valuable I am to a team, whether it’s getting a guy over, stealing a base, making a great defensive play. I’m just here to help this team win however I can.
“The last couple of years, I’ve been moving around all through the infield. Obviously, I played second all through the minors, so I’m most comfortable there, but the last couple of years I’ve had to bounce around and get comfortable at the other positions.”
It’s going to be a homecoming of sorts for Lombardozzi, who was born in Fulton and attended Atholton High School in Columbia.
“I definitely went to Orioles games growing up,” he said. “I live right down the street pretty much, so I was fortunate to be at Nationals Park the last two years. So, it will be kind of familiar being back in that area.”
Note: The Orioles released outfielder Steven Bumbry from minor league camp this morning. He’s the son of former center fielder Al Bumbry, a member of the 1983 world championship team.
The Orioles didn’t have room for Bumbry, 25, on the Double-A Bowie roster.
Bumbry was a 12th-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of Virginia Tech.