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Matusz recalled from Triple-A to join bullpen

Matusz recalled from Triple-A to join bullpen

Matusz recalled from Triple-A to join bullpen
BALTIMORE -- In an effort to upgrade their bullpen, the Orioles swapped lefties, recalling Brian Matusz from Triple-A Norfolk and designating J.C. Romero for assignment.

Matusz, who went 5-10 with a 5.42 ERA in 16 Major League starts, was moved to a relief role after making six starts for Norfolk.

Matusz's first stint as a reliever at the Major League level got off to a solid start on Friday night, entering a 6-2 game in the seventh and striking out Colby Rasmus to strand runners at second and third, as the Orioles went on to a 6-4 victory.

With Troy Patton on the 15-day disabled list (ankle sprain) and not progressing as quickly as hoped -- coupled with Romero's struggles -- the Orioles' hope Matusz can fill the void.

"I'm confident in his abilities," manager Buck Showalter said of Matusz, who went 2-1 with a 4.21 ERA in 10 games, including four relief outings, for Norfolk. "I don't know if it's going to play up here. We'll see. Only one way to find out. They don't have a Four-A League. It's a need we obviously have, and Brian is our best option at this point."

Why Matusz? Over his career, the 25-year-old has held left-handed hitters to a .223/.281/.384 line -- with 23 walks against 103 strikeouts. In contrast, right-handed hitters have a .309/.373/.506 line with 116 walks and 170 strikeouts.

"Everything's happened so fast, making the transition from starter to reliever," said Matusz, who made his first relief outing on Aug. 15. "I'm excited to be here and contribute any way I can and I'm looking forward to getting going."

Matusz said the biggest adjustment has been learning to get ready to go every day -- as opposed to every five days -- and while there are some adjustments, the bottom line is still the same: getting hitters out.

"I think he's still got a chance to be a real good starting pitcher," Showalter said. "But where we are as a club, if you look at his numbers and splits over his career, it's something we've been thinking about if the need ever arose. And it has."

Romero posted a 6.75 ERA in four innings over five appearances with the Orioles. The 36-year-old said he planned on going to back to his Alabama home to contemplate his future.

"From the first day I came here, I gave myself eight innings," said Romero, who was acquired in a trade with Cleveland. "I knew from the get-go that if in eight innings I didn't do my job, something was going to happen. But when you're in a pennant race, sometimes you have less room for mistake and that's what happened. Four innings, that's all she wrote. I know I wasn't as sharp as I'd like to be.

"Whenever the [incoming] storm goes by I will still [do] what God has in store for me, but right now I wish these guys the best of luck. This organization treated me with a lot of respect in the short time I was here and I wish them the best and I'm sorry I couldn't do more."

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