Gausman starts Thursday, Matusz a strikeout machine, Robinson on WBC (updated)

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Kevin Gausman will start Thursday afternoon’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Ed Smith Stadium, with Dylan Bundy pitching in relief. It’s the reverse of how they were used against the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers.

Chris Tillman will throw a bullpen session on Thursday and batting practice on Saturday.

Miguel Gonzalez will make his next start on Friday at Twin Lakes Park. Wei-Yin Chen’s next start is Monday at the same location. Manager Buck Showalter is limiting their exposure to major league opponents.

Brian Matusz threw seven of his 10 pitches for strikes in the bottom of the first. He fanned two batters and got another out on a ground ball. He struck out the side in the second, with his fastball sitting at 89-92 mph.

Six batters faced, five strikeouts. He’s thrown 24 pitches, 16 for strikes.

Minnesota right fielder Chris Parmelee robbed Ryan Flaherty of a home run with a leaping catch at the fence in the first inning.

Update: Chris Dickerson homered in the third inning off Twins starter Kevin Correia, and the Orioles added another run when Trayvon Robinson reached on an infield hit, moved up on Alexi Casilla’s single and raced home on a fielder’s choice and error on Correia.

Orioles 2, Twins 0.

Matusz has retired all nine batters faced, with six strikeouts. He fanned five in a row. The Twins haven’t gotten a ball out of the infield, and Matusz’s fastball routinely is hitting 91 mph.

Matusz has thrown 38 pitches, 26 for strikes. Quite impressive.

Minor league catcher Chris Robinson was a popular figure in the Orioles’ clubhouse today, with teammates and the media wanting more details about the brawl between Canada and Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.

Robinson actually sparked it by bunting for a hit in the ninth inning with Canada leading 9-3. His team knew about the run differential tie-breaker in the tournament. Apparently, the other side did not, and Mexico’s pitcher, Arnold Leon, deliberately hit Canada’s Rene Tosoni with his third attempt.

The benches emptied and serious punches were thrown. This wasn’t the typical baseball fight where players find a buddy and grab a jersey.

“It probably brought a little more attention to the WBC, but that definitely wasn’t our intention,” said Robinson, 28, who hit .232/.298/.311 in 52 games with Triple-A Norfolk last year.

“We were told about (the rule) at the start of the tournament. We had a specific meeting on that. Sometimes the unwritten rules that we play with here don’t really apply there because of runs.

“Yeah, I think you’re a little surprised when a guy misses two times and he still comes back at him a third time. At that point, you just have to stand up for yourself. I think that’s what we did.

“It’s not an ideal circumstance to be in there while everybody’s throwing punches, so you try to keep your head on a swivel and keep everybody healthy. Both teams were lucky that they got out of there without any major injuries.”

Robinson has been involved in a few skirmishes in minor league parks, but not of that magnitude.

“Obviously, there’s brawls here and there in minor league baseball where I’ve been. Scrums. But not where serious punches are being thrown,” Robinson said.

“That’s the disappointing part. That’s what they take out of it is the brawl, where as up to that it was an unbelievable game. I thought it was one of the best international games I’ve been involved in in a lot of years, so that was disappointing. But if it spreads interest in the WBC, I guess all those guys making the money now in the second and third round owe us a little bit of something.”

Robinson’s hockey background may have come in handy.

“I’m just surprised there weren’t jerseys pulled over people’s heads,” he said.

Team USA eliminated Canada, which enabled Robinson to come back to camp.

“I thought even to the last out, we played with a lot of heart,” he said. “There is a lot of talk about how we had a great tournament but everyone in that locker room was disappointed we’re not still playing. We proved we could play at that level and, yeah, it’s disappointing that we’re not there, but I think we proved to a lot of people that baseball in Canada is a pretty big deal to a lot of people.

“It was a lot of fun. It would have been nice if it turned out different in terms of the results, but I think we had a lot of fun doing it.”

Robinson was prepared for some good-natured ribbing from teammates Gonzalez and Luis Ayala, who turned down invitations to pitch for Mexico.

“Miggy and I are good friends. I don’t know Louie that well,” Robinson said. “It will be interesting to see the reaction. But it’s over with. Boys will be boys, and I think when the dust settles, they’ll understand that it’s just kind of part of the game and we’ll move on from there.”

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