Matusz out of Orioles' rotation after shaky start
Brian Matusz is out of Baltimore's rotation for the foreseeable future.
Matusz's disappointing season took another downward turn Tuesday when Orioles manager Buck Showalter said there were no immediate plans to give the left-hander another start.
Matusz, once among baseball's brightest prospects, was knocked around by the New York Yankees on Monday, getting a no-decision in a game the Orioles eventually lost 11-10.
''I don't think Brian is at a point where he can defend himself,'' Showalter said.
Matusz's latest beatdown left him at 1-7 with a 9.84 ERA in 10 starts this year. The 24-year-old has allowed 68 hits, including 15 home runs, and walked 19 in 43 innings. He had lost his previous seven starts.
''We might get him back out there for some spots for an inning or two,'' Showalter said.
Showalter didn't sound particularly ready to ensure Matusz a spot in the 2012 rotation, either.
''He's got a lot of work to do between now and next April,'' Showalter said.
Matusz gave up five runs and five hits with two walks in only 1 1-3 innings against the Yankees.
''There's no putting excuses on it,'' Matusz said after the poor showing.
Matusz was the fourth player picked in the 2008 draft and showed great promise as a rookie in 2009, when he went 5-2 in eight starts over the last two months of the season.
Matusz was 10-12 with a 4.30 ERA in 32 starts last year, but seemed to be going in the right direction when he went 6-0 with a 1.57 ERA over his final eight starts.
But he had a rough go from the beginning this year. He had a wart removed from the middle finger of his pitching hand in early March, got hit hard later in spring training and later was struck by a line drive during a simulated game.
Set to start the second game of the regular season, Matusz was instead scratched and put on the disabled list because of strained rib cage muscle on his left side.
Matusz came off the disabled list and made an impressive season debut on June 1, holding Seattle to one run and four hits in 5 2-3 innings in a no-decision. He won his next start, then struggled and lost against Tampa Bay, beginning his slide.
After that defeat, Rays manager Joe Maddon said: ''I think there might be something not quite right with Matusz. He's not throwing as hard as he used to.''
The Orioles sent Matusz to Triple-A Norfolk in late June. In early August, with the Orioles having projected far in advance that he'd be a major contributor this year, the team held a previously planned Brian Matusz bobblehead day at Camden Yards.
Matusz came back from the minors in mid-August, but has yet to win since his recall.