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.
Earlier, Craig wrote about how Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is back in manager Dave Roberts’ doghouse once again. Puig didn’t slide into second base when he was caught stealing to end Saturday’s game, which irked Roberts.
Puig didn’t earn himself any brownie points on Monday as he was late to a team workout and was benched as a result, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Roberts said, “That was a decision he made, not me.” Roberts added that he was disappointed in Puig, though he did note that the former All-Star’s behavior has been improved for most of the season.
Puig, 26, has had a solid season, batting .259/.339/.474 with 26 home runs, 70 RBI, 66 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 554 plate appearances. While he hasn’t provided value on the same level as Justin Turner or Corey Seager, he’s been a valuable part of the lineup which makes this drama all the more unfortunate with just a week and a half before the start of the NLDS.
Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates were granted an exemption by Major League Baseball and the players’ union which will allow infielder Jung Ho Kang to participate in the Dominican Winter League without being removed from the restricted list.
Kang, 30, has been denied a visa by the Department of State as a result of his third DUI in South Korea last September. Kang was also under investigation in 2015 for alleged sexual assault.
Kang is under contract through the end of 2018 and the Pirates have a club option for the 2019 season as well, so it makes sense they would try to get him into some type of baseball action ahead of next season. The infielder has hit .273/.355/.483 in 837 plate appearances across two seasons in the majors. As Brink notes, Kang has already arrived to the Dominican Republic and will work out with his team, Aguilas Cibaenas, ahead of the start of the season on October 20.