Duquette: Matusz's move to bullpen only temporary

Duquette: Matusz's move to bullpen only temporary

BALTIMORE -- Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said prior to Wednesday's game that the organization still views Brian Matusz as a starter long-term.

"It's for right now," Duquette said of the decision to try the left-handed Matusz as a reliever. "I think if he can be a starter, we can have more value and develop a better career for him. For now, he can certainly help us in relief in that role.

"We always look internally and externally at the same time. With the players we have internally, a lot of times if we take the time to look at what they do well, a lot of times the answer is right there. Like Matusz has a great record against left-handed hitters. His whole career. Not just this year, but his whole career. So with [Troy] Patton's injury, there's an opportunity. We've been looking for another left-hander out of the bullpen. It's an opportunity for him to help us."

Matusz made his debut out of the bullpen with Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday, earning the save but allowing two runs on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts in three innings. Left-handed hitters were 1-for-5 with a walk and three strikeouts against him.

Duquette didn't seem overly optimistic that the organization would have any external help on the horizon, despite the season-long search to add starting pitching.

"A lot of the pitching is not available that was available at the time of the Trade Deadline," said Duquette, who did not make a move at this year's Deadline. "[Jason] Hammel looks good, so if we can get him back and keep the others going, that will be very helpful. If we can get [Hammel] back, that would be the equivalent of bringing in a veteran pitcher to help the team."

The 29-year-old Hammel, who is recovering from right knee surgery, could possibly throw a simulated game sometime during the team's next road trip. The Orioles are targeting an early September return for Hammel, who will help boost a rotation that currently includes Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman.

Asked if the club is still looking for external corner infield help, which Duquette said was still an emphasis after promoting top prospect Manny Machado, the play of Machado and improvement of Mark Reynolds seems to have softened his stance.

"You like Machado? You like what he's done?," Duquette said with a grin about the 20-year-old, who was named Co-American League Player of the Week last week. "How about [second baseman Omar] Quintanilla? You think he's done a good job? So do they look like everyday players? OK."

Quintanilla has three home runs since joining the Orioles, and he had three total in 592 career at-bats prior to coming to Baltimore.

"He has a good fundamental approach to hitting, so generally when you have a good fundamental approach, you get good results," Duquette said.