Some nuggets from manager Buck Showalter's pre-game press conference
Lefty Brian Matusz threw a side session of about 38 pitches in front of bullpen coach Rick Adair at Tropicana Field on Friday afternoon. He threw all of his pitches and was happy with the effort.
"It went good,' Showalter said. "He will be with us today, tomorrow and probably Sunday morning and fly to Baltimore to hook up with Frederick on Monday."
Matusz is expected to pitch four innings in Monday's start with the Keys after throwing previously in extended spring training
"I'm excited to get back out there and do it again and be able to get four ups this time and make those adjustments between innings," Matusz said. "I'm excited to go to Frederick, where I started my pro career. I want to get back on track, just build up. I feel like I'm healthy and strong. I've just got to be able to get there. It just takes a little bit of time."
If it goes well, Showalter said Matusz will pitch on May 21 at either Triple-A Norfolk or Double-A Bowie depending on the weather, which Showalter said, "might be a tiebreaker." The goal would be for him to pitch five or six innings at Norfolk, and then the club will decide whether to activate him or let him pitch another rehab outing. It will depend on how he feels, how long he pitches and how effective he is.
"I think he realizes, too, coming back available to pitch five innings is not good for him or our bullpen or our team," Showalter said. "So if things continue to progress and he pitches well and he is healthy, then we'll bring him back ready to go six or seven innings. … "I don't think he will be considered until he is ready to go six or more innings and we feel like he'll be effective enough to defend himself."
Showalter joked that Matusz is "champing at the bit" to get back.
Said Matusz: "I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. I don't want to be freaking myself out and saying, 'This is the deadline, this is what you've got to do.' It's just day by day, getting better and getting that comfort feeling."
Right-hander Justin Duchscherer (left hip) threw 26 pitches (23 for strikes) in extended spring on Friday, Showalter said. The next step is for him to pitch three innings in five days or so.
All things considered with two extra inning games in three days, Showalter said the bullpen is "in pretty good shape," but he will try to stay away from a couple relievers. He said closer Kevin Gregg, who has pitched in three straight games, wants to pitch on Friday if necessary. Showalter said that would be determined depending on the game situation.
Showalter's lineup doesn't have Vladimir Guerrero in it Friday. He said it was just a routine day off for his designated hitter. Catcher Matt Wieters will get a day off on Saturday. The only Oriole that has started every game is first baseman Derrek Lee. Showalter said he has looked at scenarios in which to rest Le, but he doesn't have a definite replacement at first base, though Luke Scott, Mark Reynolds and Jake Fox could play there.
By the way, right fielder Nick Markakis, who missed Wednesday with the stomach flu and played Thursday while not feeling great, said he felt much better Friday.
Here are the lineups for both sides:
Orioles, Roberts 4, Markakis 9, Lee 3, Scot DH, Jones 8, Wieters 2, Hardy 6, Pie 7, Reynolds 5. Guthrie P.
Rays, Fuld 8, Zobrist 9, Damon DH, Longoria 5, Joyce 7, Kotchman 3, Rodriguez 4, Brignac 6, Jaso 2. Hellickson P.