Cubs sign Brian Matusz to minor league deal

BOSTON - Another former Orioles pitcher is headed to the Cubs organization.

Left-hander Brian Matusz has signed a minor league deal with the Cubs, according to a source. He agreed to terms over the weekend and took his physical yesterday.

Brian Matusz black.jpgMatusz is expected to be used as a starter at Triple-A Iowa, his original role before the Orioles converted him to a lefty specialist out of the bullpen.

Multiple teams were interested in Matusz as a starter. He chose an organization that includes former Orioles Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel and Pedro Strop.

Arrieta won the National League’s Cy Young Award last year and has thrown two no-hitters. Strop, packaged with Arrieta in the 2013 trade that brought Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger to Baltimore, has become a dependable set-up man after posting a 7.25 ERA in his final season with the Orioles.

The Orioles traded Matusz and the 76th overall pick in the amateur draft to the Braves on May 23 for minor league pitchers Brandon Barker and Trevor Belicek. The Braves designated Matusz for assignment later in the day - pretty much minutes after the deal was official - but the Orioles no longer were on the hook for the remainder of his $3.9 million salary.

Matusz made seven appearances after coming off the disabled list and registered a 12.00 ERA and 3.000 WHIP in six innings. He allowed eight runs and 11 hits, walked seven batters and surrendered three home runs.

The fourth overall pick in 2008, Matusz went 27-41 with a 4.85 ERA in 279 games over parts of eight seasons with the Orioles. He made 68 starts and hoped to get back in a rotation sometime down the road.

The Cubs apparently will give him the opportunity in Iowa.

Barker is 2-0 with a 4.24 ERA in three starts with Double-A Bowie. Belicek is 0-2 with an 8.16 ERA in four starts with Single-A Frederick.

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