Left-hander Brian Matusz returns, pitches two-thirds of an inning in loss to Blue Jays

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Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz was back in uniform Sunday morning and back on the mound later in the day.

Matusz missed the first two games of the series against the Toronto Blue Jays with a virus that caused him to spend time in a local hospital Friday afternoon. He had to receive IV fluids and wasn't released until later that night.


"I think that was just to get on IVs, and make sure everything was OK, and make sure that it wasn't a stomach problem," Matusz said. "It was more precautionary."

By Sunday, Matusz said he finally felt better.


"[Sunday] was the first time I got up and walked around, other than going to the hospital," Matusz said. "Sitting at home, watching the team play on TV, there's no worse feeling to go along with having the stomach flu and being sick. Being kind of hopeless like that, it's not much fun."

Matusz returned to game action with one out in the eighth inning Sunday, entering in relief of right-hander Josh Stinson. Matusz walked the first batter he faced before recording two outs. He threw 11 pitches before turning the ball over to right-hander Ryan Webb to start the ninth inning.

"We'll see how Brian feels [Monday]," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "That was a lot of unknown there, but there is only one way. You've got to get back on the horse."

Matusz was nearly pressed into action earlier than anyone wanted.

As the Orioles played into extra innings Saturday night, Matusz said he considered going to Camden Yards.

"If the game went a couple more innings [Saturday] night, I was thinking about putting some clothes on and heading over to the field just in case," Matusz said. "Maybe if we got to the 14th or 15th, I would have started talking myself into feeling better than I actually was."

Showalter admitted that he considered making a call to Matusz.

"We didn't have any starters last night that I could do anything with," Showalter said. "So we were down to Matusz if we kept going, one of those 17-inning specials."


Davis' power — and speed

Through his first 11 games of the season, Orioles slugger Chris Davis didn't have any home runs after leading the major leagues with 53 in 2013. That changed in the eighth inning Sunday when he homered to center field against Toronto's Esmil Rogers.

Davis is hitting .279 and tied for the team lead in RBIs with seven. And now his powerful bat has caught up with his feet. Heading into Sunday, the slugger had one steal — second base in the first inning Saturday — and no homers.

"Everybody's talking about whether I can get 53 homers again this year. I'm getting 50 bags [stolen bases] this year," Davis joked.

Davis is 12-for-18 in stolen-base attempts in seven seasons in the major leagues. He set his career high last year with four. His lone steal this year is the club's third of the season; speedy outfielder David Lough has the other two.

"Who is second on the team in steals? This guy," Davis cracked.


Showalter said Davis can steal a base when the opportunity is there — a major asset in a tight game.

"Chris runs the bases well," Showalter said. "If you don't pay attention to him, he's going to steal second. That's quite a weapon. He brings a lot of things like that."

Pearce gets a start

Steve Pearce became the last position player on the Orioles' Opening Day roster to start a game this season, getting the nod at designated hitter Sunday, which was also his 31st birthday.

"It took longer than I wanted it to," Showalter said. "Steve's one of those guys that can sit and still [hit]. … Steve is a professional hitter. If we don't have a spot for him, believe me there are people that will. He is well-respected in the industry."

Pearce doubled in his first at-bat and ended up 1-for-4 in the Orioles' loss. He had been hitless in three at-bats over two games prior to Sunday.


"This has always been my role. I've always had to grind," Pearce said. "I've never had a job handed to me. It's my everyday role. I come here to work, and when they put me in that lineup, I'll play."

No argument so far

The Orioles have made it through their first 12 games without Showalter challenging an umpires' call as part of baseball's new instant replay system. There have been two challenges in Orioles games, both by the opposition and both unsuccessful.

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Showalter said he's not looking forward to a challenge — it will just happen. But the new system lessens the need (and the umpires' tolerance) for Showalter to go out onto the field and vent. He said that's something the organization's greatest manager, Earl Weaver, probably couldn't have handled.

"I miss arguing. I do," Showalter said. "I was talking to [former Orioles catcher and current MASN broadcaster] Rick Dempsey last night after the game. I'm thinking, 'Could you imagine Earl not being able to vent that frustration, never being able to argue all year?' "

Around the horn


Center fielder Adam Jones' third-inning infield single was the 1,000th hit of his career. … Davis has reached base in 11 straight games, tied for the longest active streak in the majors. … With a double in the first inning, left fielder Delmon Young extended his hitting streak to five games. … Nelson Cruz did not play in Sunday's game. He was 0-for-14 lifetime against Toronto starter Mark Buehrle. … Third baseman Manny Machado is scheduled to run sprints Monday for the first time in Sarasota, Fla. There is still no exact timetable for his return to game action, but sprinting is his last major hurdle. ... Toronto center fielder Colby Rasmus' first-inning homer landed on Eutaw Street beyond the flag court in right field. It was the 78th homer to land there, 47th by an opponent, fourth by a Blue Jays player and first by Rasmus. It was also the first Eutaw Street homer this season. … Right-hander Suk-min Yoon lost Sunday for the second time in as many starts for Triple-A Norfolk. He gave up three runs and six hits while walking four batters and striking out four in 41/3 innings in the Tides' 4-0 loss to Charlotte. … Right-hander Zach Davies was placed on the disabled list Sunday at Double-A Bowie with a bruised right arm. He took a liner off his right elbow Saturday, but X-rays were negative. Left-hander Ashur Tolliver was promoted from short-season Single-A Aberdeen's roster to take Davies' spot with the Baysox. … Hitting coach Jim Presley returned after missing two games with the flu.

Baltimore Sun reporter Eduardo A. Encina contributed to this article.