By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun
9:00 PM EDT, September 17, 2011
Brian Matusz will get at least one more chance to end his rough 2011 season on a positive note.
It won't exactly be an easy assignment, though.
Matusz, who is 1-7 with a 9.84 ERA in 10 starts, likely will pitch the nightcap of Monday's doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
"It kind of looks like Matusz in Game 2, but we're going to see," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Brian's worked hard, and he would start one of those games, either Sunday or Monday, anyway. So we'll see. There are still a couple moving parts; we'll wait and see."
Matusz's only appearance this month was Sept. 5 at Yankee Stadium, when he allowed five earned runs in 11/3 innings. After that, he was relegated to working with pitching coach Rick Adair before games, raising the question as to whether Matusz would start again this season. The 24-year-old left-hander has given up five runs or more in each of his past six starts.
"It's always important to end the season on a positive note … but I wouldn't put extra importance on it," he said. "Obviously, things haven't been going well for me this year, and it's a great opportunity. It's almost like a second life to go out there and battle."
In his three career starts in Boston — none this year — Matusz is 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA and has struck out 16 batters in 18 innings.
"Fenway's got a lot of history and is a fun place to play, and I have had success there, but obviously Boston is in the [playoff] race and they are trying to win ballgames," Matusz said. "So it's always fun to be in that spoiler role."
Jones' MRI shows sprain
Center fielder Adam Jones said his MRI on Saturday showed a sprained right thumb — and no extra damage.
So, he said, he figures he'll try to play through it, then rest after the season finale Sept. 28. Jones hasn't started since Sept. 9 at Toronto. He was not in Saturday's starting lineup.
"I can't hurt it no more," he said. "It's painful not to play, too, so I'm going to try and play and tolerate it."
Celebrating Frederick's run
The High-A Frederick Keys won the Carolina League championship Friday with an 11-3 victory over the Kinston Indians. It was the Keys' first title since 2007 and the first for any Orioles affiliate since.
Showalter said he thinks, to an extent, it's important for teams to win in the minors — especially when they have young prospects that are learning the game. Frederick's roster includes top infielders Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop.
"To be able to place, for instance, those two young players in that environment of winning is not a bad thing," Showalter said. "It depends who you ask. If it's the farm director who just finished in last place in six different places, you'll have a different response than the guy that had four or five clubs in the playoffs. … I think you can do both. At some point, you'd like to see some of it start showing up on the scoreboard for these guys."
Around the horn
Alfredo Simon will start Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Angels, and Jeremy Guthrie will start the first game of Monday's doubleheader. … The 2011 Orioles are the 11th team in franchise history to have at least four players with 20 homers. Only the Texas Rangers have more players (five) with 20 homers this season. … Plate umpire Brian O'Nora was hit in the ankle by a pre-game pitch from Zach Britton and had to leave. The start of the game was delayed for 14 minutes before second base umpire Alfonso Marquez took over behind the plate.
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