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.
Starter Gerrit Cole has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to August 25, with posterior inflammation of his right elbow, the Pirates announced. Pitcher Steven Brault has been recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis for Monday night’s start against the Cubs.
Cole was scratched from Monday’s start on Sunday and instead traveled to Los Angeles to be examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. The right-hander previously underwent an MRI which ruled out structural damage.
Cole hits the shelf with a 3.55 ERA and a 95/32 K/BB ratio over 114 innings. The Pirates entered play Monday a half game out of the second National League Wild Card slot, so losing him for at least two more weeks will sting.
Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.
Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.
In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.