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Scioscia lets Mathis catch some rest

Scioscia lets Mathis catch some rest

BALTIMORE -- Catcher Jeff Mathis has played in so many games lately that seeing his name missing from the lineup on Sunday morning at Camden Yards may have prompted a double-take or two.

Mathis, who has assumed the starting job with Mike Napoli on the disabled list, hadn't had a day off since July 5. In his place, Ryan Budde made his first start of the season -- an announcement that prompted a celebratory hug from pitcher John Lackey before the game.

"I think it's a good day just to let Jeff catch his breath a little bit, get Ryan some playing time," said manager Mike Scioscia. "Until Nap's back, obviously, Jeff's getting the lion's share of the playing time, and I think it's a good day just to let him recharge."

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Scioscia added that he didn't feel he was making any defensive sacrifices by having Budde behind the plate, and felt confident that Budde would be able to handle calling a game for starting pitcher Ervin Santana with ease.

"I think all five of our pitchers are very confident in Ryan," he said. "Ryan's a terrific defensive catcher, and he's going to do a good job behind the plate, so there's no hesitation to put him in with any of our guys."

The Mathis/Budde switch wasn't the only lineup change Scioscia made on getaway day in Baltimore. Also missing from the lineup were Casey Kotchman, Maicer Izturis and Garret Anderson, with Robb Quinlan, Erick Aybar and Gary Matthews taking their places in the lineup.

Sunday's game, the third in a nine-game road trip that also includes Boston and New York, presented an opportunity for Scioscia to give some of his regular starters a bit of much-needed rest, especially during a day game after a night game.

"I think we know that Garret and Kotch can hit lefties, righties, anybody," Scioscia said. "It's more about trying to keep them fresh. We have some right-handed bats we can get in there that we hope will match up well against left-handed pitching."

Amanda Comak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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