After Baltimore’s 4-1 victory on Opening Day in Tampa Bay, Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter told Gary Thorne that prospect Zach Britton would be starting for the Birds on Sunday as Brian Matusz will be placed on the disabled list.
Matusz was diagnosed with a strained intercostal muscle. Roch Kubatko reports that Andy MacPhail estimated that Matusz could miss from three to six weeks with the injury.
“With the duration that we think Brian’s going to be out, we’re going to need the fifth starter, so we may as well plug in Zach now as opposed to waiting till the ninth or 10th,” MacPhail said.
The initial plan called for Britton to stay down until at least April 21, so the Orioles would gain an extra year of service time and allow him to work on his secondary pitches. But Matusz’s back issue created a change in thinking.
While it’s certainly unfortunate for Matusz, it was a good move by the organization not to wait and bring up Britton. He was Baltimore’s best performer in Spring Training and certainly caught the eye of a number of scouts around the league.