Matusz allowed one run on four hits and a walk while striking out seven in five-plus innings for Triple-A Norfolk tonight against Columbus. He threw 83 pitches, 53 to strikes.
Matusz started the sixth inning and allowed the first two hitters to reach on singles. He was then removed from the game in favor of Pat Egan, who allowed one of the inherited runs to score.
In three previous rehab starts, one at Single-A Frederick and one at Double-A Bowie and tonight’s for Norfolk, Matusz compiled a 1.80 ERA. He allowed two earned runs on nine hits and four walks while striking out 10 over 15 innings.
“We’ll see what the reports are that we get back,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. “We’ll listen to Brian, but we’ll also listen to the people that are there. We’ll make a decision, I think, by [Saturday]. I know that Brian has tentative travel plans both ways.”
If the Orioles deem him ready, Matusz will make his 2011 big league debut Wednesday in the series and road trip finale against the Seattle Mariners.
Matusz, 24, went 10-12 with a 4.30 ERA in 32 starts for the Orioles last season. He was lined up to be the team’s No.2 starter before he went on the DL during the team’s first series of the season because of a strained left intercostal muscle.
In other news, first baseman Derrek Lee (strained left oblique) will start baseball activities in Sarasota on Monday, according to Showalter. That likely means that Lee will not be ready to come off the disabled list on Wednesday, which was the original hope.