After going 21-33 with a 5.51 ERA in 68 career starts Brian Matusz shifted to the bullpen in the middle of last season and has fared very well as a reliever, throwing 57 innings with a 2.84 ERA, 57/17 K/BB ratio, and .202 opponents’ batting average.
However, the 26-year-old left-hander told Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com that he still hopes to be a starter again for the Orioles, perhaps as soon as next season:
Hopefully. I would like to be given a chance to earn a spot, but my focus right now to win ballgames and make the postseason. That’s something that will be discussed at the end of the season, but ultimately, I’d like to be able to start at some point.
It’s hard to imagine the Orioles feel the same way, although when asked by Dubroff manager Buck Showalter said that Matusz “still possibly has a future as a starter.”
The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.
Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field. He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.
Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.