Buck believes Matusz needs to get the ball on a consistent basis in an attempt to regain his velocity and the command of his pitches.
“I think he needs to get the ball every fifth day and continue to work on some things that he’s aware of,” Showalter said. “It’s a tough time for him. He’s a young man who hasn’t had much failure pitching in his career, but just about everybody does at some point. It’s how you handle it. We’ve talked about this with him before.
The O’s skipper even implied that Matusz may, in a way, welcome his demotion to Norfolk.
“That’s not the first time I’ve talked to him, and he understands certain things,” Showalter said. “It’s hard for me to say, but it might be a little bit of a relief to him. He’s competing against the best hitters in the world here every night. At some point, he’s going to make that huge jump from Triple-A to the majors again, and hopefully he can get back.”
When Showalter was asked who might take Matusz’ spot in the rotation, he refused to name a replacement, but he did throw out some hints.
“I probably shouldn’t jump the gun,” Showalter said. “Andy had an idea of what we’re going to do. It would not be a starter until we needed a starter the next time in his spot. It would be somebody else, but I don’t want to start talking about that in case Andy changes his mind. But you can do your investigative work and figure out who the options are – some one from within the current roster.”
For now, things look fairly bleak in Birdland. The Orioles are a season-worst eight games under .500. Brian Matusz has been demoted to Norfolk, and the O’s are headed out on a brutal road-trip which will take them to Atlanta, Texas, and Boston.
Derrek Lee understands the importance of a strong finish to the first half of 2011.
“It’s important to go strong into the break so we need to really bear down and try to have a good road trip,” Lee said.
We’ll be watching.