The Orioles' decision to start right-hander Jake Arrieta on Wednesday instead of scheduled starter Brian Matusz included plenty of moving parts.
Matusz, who bunted a ball off his nose before Tuesday's game, said he could have pitched — X-rays taken Tuesday night were negative and he said he could breathe fine through his nose — but manager Buck Showalter said he didn't want to risk Matusz having problems breathing early in his start, forcing the Orioles to use the bullpen early.
Arrieta, who had lost eight of his last nine starts, was demoted to the bullpen following his start Friday. But he didn't get into a game in relief, so he worked Wednesday on normal rest.
"Out of all the things we had the option to do, it probably looked the best or fit the best," Showalter said.
Matusz — who is now scheduled to start Friday — took the move in stride but said he expected to pitch Wednesday.
"I woke up this morning and felt good, good enough to go," Matusz said. "I talked to Buck, and he felt it was best to give me a couple extra days, and I'll be fine for Friday. I feel fine. There's a little bit of pain there, but I've been doing activities."
The Orioles could have turned to Triple-A Norfolk for a starter, but using Arrieta seemed to be better than their options in the minors.
The club wants to give 49-year-old left-hander Jamie Moyer one more start before considering bringing him up. Right-hander Chris Tillman's last start on Monday was called after five innings because of rain. And the Orioles would like to see right-hander Miguel Gonzalez get more innings before returning as a starter. (Gonzalez could have only been recalled if a player was sent to the disabled list, because it's still within 10 days of him being sent down.)
With Matusz starting Friday's series opener in Atlanta, the Orioles can move right-hander Jason Hammel, originally slated for Friday, to pitch Saturday. Showalter said that allows Hammel to pitch in only one National League park, where he'd have to hit. Otherwise, Hammel — who has been nursing a sore right knee — would have also had to pitch and hit against the Mets on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Right-hander Tommy Hunter will make his second start since returning from Triple-A Norfolk. He was optioned to Norfolk for the second time this season on May 29 but returned after just one outing to make Saturday's spot start. He gave the Orioles a quality start (7 innings, 8 hits, 3 earned runs, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts) Saturday against the Phillies.
"This is something you need, to get back in the swing of things," Hunter said. "Start doing what you are supposed to do. I get another shot on Thursday. We'll take it one day at a time. Hopefully, I'll go out and deal, put a 'W' on the board and do all the good things that you are supposed to do."
Orioles to make call on Chavez on Thursday
Outfielder Endy Chavez, his strained right hamstring still sore after pulling up lame rounding first base Tuesday night, was out of Wednesday's lineup and is considered day-to-day.
Chavez said he didn't believe he could play Wednesday, but he didn't think the injury would force him onto the disabled list for the second time this season. He spent 19 days on the DL in May with an oblique strain.
"I feel better today," Chavez said. "It's still sore. We'll give it some treatment and see how it responds the next two days.
The Orioles will likely make a decision whether to place Chavez on the DL today before going on the road for six interleague games.
"It would be kind of tough going into six National League games short on the bench, so we'll see," Showalter said. "It's sort of tough to test it out, because you don't want to injure it further."
If the Orioles place Chavez on the DL, they could recall infielder Steve Tolleson, who was optioned Tuesday.
Roberts' new helmet funny but functional
Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts describes his new batting helmet as "function over looks."
Roberts, who played his first major league game in nearly 13 months Tuesday after battling multiple concussions, is wearing a helmet with double ear flaps to add protection at the plate and on the basepaths.
"The double ear flap looks funny doesn't it?" Roberts said Wednesday. "I just decided, 'Why take a chance of getting hit on the side that doesn't have a flap?' It's their newest version. It can take a little more velocity."
Roberts, who had three hits and an RBI in his first game back, said the helmet has taken some adjustment. He wore it for the final 10 days of his minor league rehab assignment.
"After talking to my doctor, we just decided, you know, we'll go with function over looks," Roberts said. "Just figured why not just be as smart as we can be."
Around the horn
Joel Pineiro (four innings) and Dontrelle Willis (five innings) will pitch in a simulated game Thursday in Sarasota. … Right-handed reliever Matt Lindstrom (middle finger) threw from 60 to 120 feet for eight minutes Wednesday and had no complaints. … LF Nolan Reimold is still scheduled to get an MRI to help determine why his recovery from a bulging disk in his neck hasn't progressed. That will happen either today or tomorrow. … The Orioles announced they're agreed to terms with the following draft picks: RHP Sean McAdams (14th round), 2B Tommy Richards (24th), SS Anthony Caronia (27th) and LHP Charles Porter (35th). The club also confirmed coming to terms with third-round pick Adrian Marin and ninth-rounder Brady Wager. Josh Hader, a pitcher from Old Mill High School whom the O's took in the 19th round, tweeted that he also signed. ... The Orioles' game July 14 against the Detroit Tigers has been moved to 4:05 p.m. to accommodate a FOX broadcast. The pregame ceremony to unveil Jim Palmer's sculpture will move up to 2:15 p.m. … The Orioles entered the night with a 5-2 interleague record, tied for the third-best in baseball behind the Nationals and Yankees.
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