St. Louis Cardinals v Baltimore Orioles

Brian Matusz rocked again as ERA rises to 9.07

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Brian Matusz’s miserable season continued yesterday, as he served up three homers and allowed six runs in 5.1 innings against the Yankees, falling to 1-7 with a 9.07 ERA in nine starts.

Matusz had a very promising rookie season last year and the 24-year-old left-hander looked like a big part of the Orioles’ long-term plans, but he missed the first two months of this season with an intercostal strain and then pitched his way back to the minors once healthy.

When the Orioles called him back up two weeks ago they seemed optimistic that he’d worked out some mechanical kinks and rediscovered his lost velocity, but in three starts since then Matusz has allowed 18 runs in 16 innings while opponents bat .348 with a 1.085 OPS.

He’ll get a chance to improve his numbers down the stretch, but right now the former No. 4 overall pick has joined Chien-Ming Wang in 2009 as the only pitchers since 2005 to throw at least 40 innings with an ERA above 9.00. Wang didn’t get a chance to improve on his 9.64 ERA late in the season because he underwent shoulder surgery from which he’s just now getting back on track.

Tigers to give Omar Infante some work in center field this spring

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 11:  Omar Infante #4 of the Detroit Tigers follows through on an RBI single scoring Prince Fielder #28 during the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field  on September 11, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
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Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.

Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.

The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”

Report: Orioles close to acquiring Vidal Nuno from the Dodgers

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 30:  Vidal Nuno #38 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Texas Rangers in the bottom of the seventh inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on August 30, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are close to acquiring pitcher Vidal Nuno from the Dodgers in exchange for pitcher Ryan Moseley.

Nuno, 29, went to the Dodgers from the Mariners in the Carlos Ruiz trade this past November. He and the Dodgers avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $1.125 million salary for the 2017 season. The left-hander finished the 2016 campaign with a 3.53 ERA and a 51/11 K/BB ratio in 58 2/3 innings spanning one start and 54 relief appearances.

Nuno will provide the Orioles starting pitching depth and could serve as a valuable left-handed option out of the bullpen.

Moseley, 22, played his first season of professional baseball in the New York Penn League last year. In 12 relief appearances, he put up a 3.20 ERA and an 18/9 K/BB ratio across 19 2/3 innings. The Orioles selected him in the eighth round of the 2016 draft.