Dan Duquette weighs in on Brian Matusz suspension

Orioles executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette said before Monday afternoon's game that he's hoping the eight-game suspension levied on relief pitcher Brian Matusz will be reduced on appeal.

"He has filed an appeal with the players association, so that will stay the penalty, and then they'll have a hearing and they'll try to make a case to get the penalty reduced," Duquette said.


No one is disputing that Matusz was in violation of baseball rules for having a sticky substance on his non-pitching forearm, but Duquette quickly joined the chorus of comments about how common the use of pine tar is among major league pitchers and how seldom anyone gets called out for it.

"Under the rules, the opposing manager has to request the pitcher be examined for a foreign substance," he said, "so most clubs don't request that unless it's a blatant indiscretion."


The Miami Marlins obvioiusly felt it was blatant. Matusz could easily be seen rubbing his fingers over the spot on his right arm and Marlins manager Dan Jennings took advantage of the situation to unsettle the Orioles bullpen in a scoreless extra-inning game.

Duquette was asked if he felt the eight-game penalty was to harsh and joked that it wasn't "if it's reduced."

He went on to posit that the traditional eight-game penalty on relievers for using a foreign substance (other than rosin) creates a greater handicap on a team than the 10-game suspension that is usually levied against starting pitchers for the same offense.

"Because the reliever conceivably could be available for all eight of those games and the starting pitcher if you have a 10-game penalty would be two games if they took away your turn in the rotation."

Duquette joined Buck Showalter in the opinion that pitchers using pine tar are doing it simply to grip the baseball better, which obviously would give them the ability to pitch better but also reduce the possibility of an errant pitch injuring a hitter.

"Pitchers all around the league are trying to effectively grip the ball,'' he said, "and the question is really to baseball if everybody is using some enhancement to grip the ball, is that really a violation. I think that's a discussion for another day."