Despite struggles, O’s have no plans to demote Brian Matusz

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Young left-hander Brian Matusz surrendered nine hits and six earned runs in just 4 2/3 innings Saturday evening against the Reds and has posted an ugly 6.85 ERA and 1.84 WHIP since returning from the disabled list at the beginning of June.

But the Orioles aren’t overly concerned.

They’re going to let Matusz work out his issues in the major leagues, rather than demoting him to Triple-A Norfolk for a couple of starts.

Baltimore manager Buck Showalter confirmed in his postgame press conference late Saturday night that Matusz will remain in the big league rotation for at least one more outing. This quote comes via Roch Kubatko of MASN:

“It seems like a lot of balls squared up off him when he’s kind of down sometimes,” Showalter said. “It looks like he’s getting some outs up. I’ve seen him when he’s good, and he has good command of the fastball. Really all his pitches. Like I said, we’ll keep working, trying to get back to that status. That’s what the plan is.”

Matusz opened a lot of eyes last season when he registered a 7-3 record, 3.63 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over his final 14 starts. The O’s are going to need a similarly efficient second half from the 24-year-old here in 2011.

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

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The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.

Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).

Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.