UPDATE: According to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com, Brian Matusz will go on the disabled list with a strained intercostal muscle. Orioles president Andy MacPhail said he’ll be sidelined anywhere from three to six weeks.
Meanwhile, prospect left-hander Zach Britton will be called up to make his major league debut Sunday against the Rays. There was speculation that the Orioles would wait until at least April 21 in an effort to delay his service time for a year, but the injury to Matusz has obviously changed their plans.
The 23-year-old left-hander put up an impressive 1.35 ERA over 20 innings during Grapefruit League play and posted a 2.70 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 124/51 K/BB ratio over 153 1/2 innings between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk last season. He was named as the organization’s No. 1 pitching prospect by Baseball America over the winter.
5:17 PM: Brian Matusz will not make his scheduled start tomorrow against the Rays because of a back injury and is headed for an MRI exam, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.
Matsuz was questionable to make the start in the first place after taking a line drive off his biceps during a simulated game Monday, but was cleared to pitch before being scratched with back soreness.
Selected fourth overall in the 2008 draft, Matusz threw 176 innings with a 4.30 ERA and 143/63 K/BB ratio as a rookie and even at just 24 years old the Orioles were counting on him to help stabilize a very young, inexperienced starting rotation.
The Diamondbacks have signed free agent left-hander Jorge De La Rosa to a minor league deal, per a team announcement on Sunday. The contract includes an invitation to spring training. Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com adds that De La Rosa stands to make $2.25 million if he secures a spot on the major league roster, with up to $600,000 in incentives if he pitches out of the bullpen and up to $1 million in incentives if he pitches out of the starting rotation.
The 35-year-old is expected to compete for a bullpen role after spending the better part of a decade in the Rockies’ rotation. He capped a nine-year run with Colorado in 2016, finishing the year with a 5.51 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 over 134 innings. Despite his struggles out of the rotation, he found limited success in a three-game stint in the bullpen, striking out 10 of 26 batters and holding the opposition to just three hits and one earned run in eight innings.
The veteran lefty is set to join a bullpen comprised of right-handers Randall Delgado, Jake Barrett and Fernando Rodney, along with a number of unproven candidates on similar minor league contracts. His age and command issues may be off-putting, but the promise he showed as a reliever should give the Diamondbacks some upside as they attempt to redeem a league-worst bullpen in 2017.
Blue Jays’ third baseman Josh Donaldson is expected to miss up to three weeks with a right calf strain, reports John Lott. Donaldson reportedly felt some discomfort in his calf during sprinting drills on Friday and was diagnosed with what looked like a mild strain after undergoing an MRI on Saturday. According to Lott, the 31-year-old is on crutches for the next few days and will likely miss 2-3 weeks of spring training.
Donaldson had a similar scare at the start of the 2016 season, when he limped out of the batter’s box during the Blue Jays’ first regular season road trip with a right calf strain. He returned to DH two days later, however, and was back on the field in less than a week’s time. Blue Jays’ GM Ross Atkins told MLB.com’s Corey Long that the two calf injuries are unrelated, and expects that Donaldson will recover in similar fashion this spring — well before Opening Day comes around.