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After being left off ALDS roster, Brian Matusz happy to be back with Orioles

It all happened in about a week. Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz experienced a gut-punching low of the postseason and then an exhilarating high — all without throwing a pitch.

Matusz, the 27-year-old left-hander who had been with the club all season, was left off the American League Division Series roster, primarily because the Detroit Tigers had a right-handed-heavy lineup. So Matusz had to watch.

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"At first, it was not a good feeling," said Matusz, who pitched in six games in the 2012 postseason for the Orioles. "But, obviously, just understanding the situation and trying to put together the best roster to win. And fortunately it worked out."

On Thursday afternoon, Orioles manager Buck Showalter informed Matusz that he would be included on the ALCS roster, replacing right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez. It's the only change Showalter made to his roster between rounds.

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"Buck pulled me into his office and said I'm going to be on the roster," said Matusz, who was 2-3 with a 3.48 ERA in 63 regular-season games in 2014. "Obviously, playing in the postseason is an exciting time, something I want to be a part of."

His teammates wanted Matusz to be a part of it, too. Right-hander Darren O'Day, who was left off the postseason roster while with the Texas Rangers in 2011, said he understood what Matusz was going through.

"I had to watch three rounds, and it is tough. It really is," O'Day said. "If you're not contributing, you feel like you're just in the way. And you do everything you can to do something, whether it'd be tell funny jokes in the bullpen, which Brian is good at, or a little arm rub or something, he mixes those in, too. It's great to have him back."

In Friday's game, Matusz entered with one out in the top of the 10th inning. He gave up a two-run home run to Kansas City's Mike Moustakas to increase the Royals' lead to 8-5. One of the two runs was charged to O'Day.

Showalter plays coy with Game 2 starter

Like he has done for much of his time with the Orioles, Showalter wasn't in any hurry to announce his Game 2 starter for Saturday. He sent both right-hander Bud Norris and left-hander Wei-Yin Chen to the podium Friday, a news conference that is usually reserved for the next day's starting pitcher.

Showalter said he wanted to make sure neither had to pitch in relief Friday.

"We're going to do everything we can to try to win [Friday's] game and let the smoke clear and see where we are," he said.

Despite the secrecy, Norris is expected to get the call for Game 2. He was the winning pitcher in the Game 3 clincher of the ALDS in Detroit on Sunday. He has made two career starts against the Kansas City Royals and is 0-1 with a 0.68 ERA.

Chen is 1-1 with a 4.17 ERA in six career starts against the Royals, but he is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in two starts at Kauffman Stadium. It's expected he'll get a start in Kansas City, perhaps Game 3 on Monday.

Both pitchers said Friday afternoon that they weren't concerned about the uncertainty.

"It's a little different, but it goes with the times," Norris said. "Understand that you are still a soldier, you're working for a team. Just go out there and pitch is all you can focus on."

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Said Chen, through interpreter Louis Chao: "I don't think too much about it. I just get ready, and whichever game the manager tells me to go out and pitch, I'll go out and pitch."

Gordon, family visit Eutaw Street

Royals left fielder Alex Gordon grew up in Lincoln, Neb., with a father and brother who cheered for the Orioles. That made the plaque that commemorates his Eutaw Street home run a must-see for his family that traveled here for the ALCS.

"To have a piece of history out there on Eutaw Street, it definitely means a lot to me and my family," Gordon said. "My brother is out here for the first time, and that was the first thing he wanted to do was check out that ball that was out there."

On July 1, 2008, Gordon unloaded on a center-cut fastball from former Orioles right-hander Radhames Liz that traveled 425 feet in the air, one-hopped the Warehouse to give the Royals a 1-0 lead. Gordon joked that the wind must have been blowing out on the bright afternoon in question, but the pennants flying in the right-field flag court were still that day.

"It means a lot to me," Gordon said. "And hopefully, I can get another one."

Details on Hardy's contract

Shortstop J.J. Hardy officially signed a three-year, $40 million extension Thursday to stay with the team at least through 2017, with an option for 2018.

The specific terms, according to an industry source, are: an $11.5 million salary in 2015, $12.5 million in 2016 and $14 million in 2017. The contract includes a $14 million club option for 2018 with a $2 million buyout.

Hardy's 2018 option vests if he reaches a set number of plate appearances or if he is traded during the contracted years. He also can receive up to $700,000 in performance bonuses each season. Some of the money will be deferred beyond the new contract's duration.

Around the horn

Former Orioles slugger and postseason hero Boog Powell threw out the ceremonial first pitch Friday. It skipped underneath the glove of injured catcher Matt Wieters. … TBS featured team-specific segments from sideline reporters with club ties during the ALCS. Former Orioles shortstop and MASN broadcaster Mike Bordick provided the updates for the home side. …Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who was scheduled to start Game 4 of the ALDS before the Orioles won in three, hasn't pitched since the regular-season finale Sept. 28 in Toronto. Showalter said Gonzalez has thrown several simulated games since then and would be available out of the bullpen, if needed. He likely will get a start in Kansas City. … Gordon and designated hitter Billy Butler entered the ALCS with strong histories against the Orioles. In 54 games against the Orioles, Butler was a career .313 hitter with 10 home runs, and 38 RBIs entering Friday's game, with six of those home runs and one of his four career triples coming at Camden Yards. Gordon was batting .294 with 13 home runs in 51 games against the Orioles. … Royals manager Ned Yost submitted the same roster from the ALDS. He said he never considered adding a 12th pitcher to his ALCS roster, citing rookie left-hander Brandon Finnegan and left-hander Tim Collins as relievers who can go multiple innings.

twitter.com/danconnollysun

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Baltimore Sun reporters Jon Meoli and Eduardo A. Encina contributed to this article.

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