Brian Matusz back from minors to start tonight vs. Athletics

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As expected, Brian Matusz has been recalled from Triple-A Norfolk and will start later tonight against the Athletics.

Matusz, who began the year on the disabled list with an intercostal strain, compiled an ugly 8.77 ERA and 18/11 K/BB ratio over his first six starts in the majors this season before being demoted at the end of June.

The 24-year-old left-hander has found more success in the minors, posting a 3.62 ERA and 34/18 K/BB ratio over eight starts. He has been especially impressive lately, allowing four runs over his last three starts, including a complete-game shutout last Thursday.

While the Orioles are hoping they’ll see the same pitcher who posted a 2.11 ERA over his final 11 starts last season, one of the more telling things to watch tonight will be his velocity. Matusz has averaged 86.7 mph on his fastball in the majors this season, down from 89.9 mph last season. The good news is that he sat in the 88-89 mph range during his complete-game shutout last week and topped out at 91 mph.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.