Left-hander Brian Matusz allowed three runs over seven innings last night for Triple-A Norfolk, with six hits, two walks, one strikeout and two home runs in the Tides' 6-5, 13-inning loss to Columbus. He threw 92 pitches, 59 for strikes.
Those are the raw numbers, which I passed along last night. Here's more:
Matusz's fastball was mostly 88-89 mph and topped out at 91, which is an improvement over past starts. He was usually in the 85-89 mph range before last night.
"His velocity was up and it was steady up. And it was the best control and command he's had," said John Stockstill, director of player development.
Matusz wasn't quite as good as his July 16 start at Gwinnett, when he threw seven scoreless innings while allowing three hits and striking out eight, but he made positive strides after two straight rough outings against Toledo.
In those games, the Mud Hens totaled 12 runs (10 earned) and 15 hits in 8 2/3 innings.
As for new first baseman Aaron Baker, acquired from the Pirates in the Derrek Lee trade, he'll be assigned to Single-A Frederick and stay with the Keys while Tyler Townsend remains on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. Townsend is projected to return in a week or so, at which point Baker could move up to Double-A Bowie.
There's a bit of a logjam at first base, but Joe Mahoney also will make some starts in the outfield. More at-bats will be available for each player at designated hitter. And Baker could wind up at "another position before it's over," Stockstill said.