Brian Matusz makes first appearance in extended spring training

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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.

Dave Dombrowski gives John Farrell a vote of confidence

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Earlier, we learned via Tuesday’s report from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that Red Sox manager John Farrell could find himself on the hot seat given the team’s slow start and a couple of incidents with Dustin Pedroia and Drew Pomeranz.

Tim Britton of the Providence Journal spoke to Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who gave Farrell a vote of confidence. Dombrowski said, “We all have our pluses and minuses. But when I see some of the things we’ve talked about, I don’t know how you say that’s John Farrell’s fault. It’s not his fault that we’ve scuffled to pitch in the fifth spot with [Kyle] Kendrick and [Hector] Velazquez. The injury factors. Really in many ways, I tip my hat to our guys, led by John, that we’re in the position that we’re in right now. We’re three and a half out on May 24. There’s a long time to go. We haven’t gotten buried.”

Dombrowski added, “He’s our manager. He’s done fine. If I didn’t think that, then he wouldn’t be in his role.”

Farrell is signed through 2018 as the Red Sox exercised his ’18 option in December. That doesn’t mean the Red Sox can’t let him go, but given the lack of realistic options to step in and fill Farrell’s shoes and Dombrowski’s vote of confidence, it looks like the skipper has job security for now.

Jacoby Ellsbury diagnosed with concussion, neck sprain after leaving game

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The Yankees announced that Jacoby Ellsbury left the game with a concussion and a neck sprain after making a great catch, crashing into the center field wall at Yankee Stadium to snag an Alcides Escobar fly ball for the first out of the first inning Wednesday night against the Royals.

Ellsbury was shaken up after the play, requiring the attention of manager Joe Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue.

Ellsbury initially stayed in the game and finished the top of the first inning. However, Aaron Hicks replaced Ellsbury in center field to start the top of the second inning. Ellsbury was batting sixth and did not have an at-bat prior to exiting.