Brian Matusz not close to making 2011 debut

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Orioles starter Brian Matusz has been on the disabled list since spring training concluded due to an intercostal muscle strain.

The 2011 season is over two weeks old now and Matusz isn’t anywhere close to returning.

According to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, the left-hander is still working out at the Orioles’ spring training complex and has not been cleared to begin throwing bullpen sessions. That likely means that he’s at least three weeks away from taking a mound in the major leagues.

O’s manager Buck Showalter told the Sun that Matusz is only feeling mild discomfort, so they could rush him through his rehab if they wanted. But Showalter and Co. aren’t going to risk it with one of their most promising young pitchers. Caution is the way.

Matusz, 24, managed a 3.63 ERA and 63/25 K/BB ratio in 72 innings after the All-Star break last season.

Mariano Rivera awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

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Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Trump on Monday. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor to “individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Babe Ruth was posthumously awarded the medal last year. Yogi Berra got it posthumously in 2015, and Willie Mays and Vin Scully were also awarded it the same year.

Trump and Rivera are close. Rivera, who is from Panama, has been criticized for his relationship with Trump. Defending that relationship, Rivera said on Fox & Friends in July, “Mr. President Trump to me, he was a friend of mine before he became president. So, because he’s president I will turn my back on him? No. I respect him. I respect what he does and I believe he’s doing the best for the United States of America.”

Rivera, 49, served on Trump’s Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission in 2017. In 2018, Rivera co-chaired Trump’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. Rivera also co-hosted a fundraiser dinner for the America First Action PAC, which supports Trump and was also hosted by Donald Trump Jr. and Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle.

This past January, Rivera became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously. He is the all-time leader in saves with 652 as well as adjusted ERA (also known as ERA+) at 205. He retired with a 2.21 ERA and 1,173 strikeouts across 1,283 2/3 innings, spanning 19 seasons with the Yankees.