Brian Matusz took an important step this morning in his recovery from a strained left intercostal muscle by tossing two innings in an extended spring training appearance.
Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that Matusz faced six batters and threw approximately 12-15 pitches per inning. He’s scheduled to throw three innings Wednesday in his next outing in extended spring training. He would presumably go out on a minor league rehab assignment from there.
Barring any setbacks, Kubatko writes that Matusz could be back with the Orioles on either May 21 for an interleague matchup against the Nationals or on May 26 against the Royals. Orioles manager Buck Showalter was the one who floated May 21 as a possibility, but that seems unlikely right now.
Matusz, 24, has a 4.37 ERA over his first 40 major league starts. He went 7-3 with a 3.63 ERA after the All-Star break last season and finished fifth in the balloting for the AL Rookie of the Year.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.