Brian Matusz

Brian Robert Matusz (/ˈmætəs/ MAT-əs; born February 11, 1987) is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago Cubs.

Brian Matusz
Matusz with the Baltimore Orioles
Born: (1987-02-11) February 11, 1987
Grand Junction, Colorado, U.S.
Batted: Left
Threw: Left
MLB debut
August 4, 2009, for the Baltimore Orioles
Last MLB appearance
July 31, 2016, for the Chicago Cubs
MLB statistics
Win–loss record27–41
Earned run average4.92


Matusz attended the University of San Diego, where he played on the school's baseball team as a starting pitcher. Matusz, Josh Romanski, and Matt Couch anchored the Toreros rotation.[1]

Matusz at San Diego in 2008

Matusz was named to the West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year honors and finalist for the Roger Clemens Award.[2]

Professional career

Baltimore Orioles

Matusz with the Orioles

Drafted fourth overall by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2008 MLB draft, Matusz signed a contract with the Orioles on August 15, 2008, the deadline to sign draft picks.[2]

In spring 2009, he was invited to the Orioles spring training. In June 2009, he was promoted from high Single-A (Frederick Keys) to a starting pitcher for the Double-A Bowie Baysox. He struck out 10 batters in his first start for Bowie on June 17. Matusz was named Baseball America's ninth best overall prospect mid-season in 2009. Before the 2010 season, Baseball America named him the fifth best prospect in all of baseball.[3]

Matusz made his MLB debut on August 4, 2009, against the Detroit Tigers. On his MLB debut Matusz went five innings, allowing six hits, one earned run and striking out five. He earned a win in his effort. On September 14, the O's decided to shut Matusz down for the remainder of the season, wary of overextending the rookie in his first big league season.[4]

He was named a starting pitcher on Baseball America's 2010 All-Rookie Team.[5]

He missed the first two months of the 2011 season with an injury.[6] He returned and got six starts and finished with a 1–4 record with an ERA above 7.00 before being demoted to Triple-A Norfolk on June 30 to work on his velocity.[7] He was later recalled and continued to struggle, posting a 1–7 record and 9.84 ERA before his removal from the starting rotation in September.[8]

Matusz began the 2012 season in the rotation, but was demoted to the bullpen in August. In the bullpen, Matusz excelled, striking out 19 with a 1.35 ERA in 18 appearances. He also did not allow a single inherited runner to score. He pitched the last three months of the season with a rectus abdominis tear, preventing him from sprinting, but not pitching. He had surgery in October to repair the tear, and was expected to be back for spring training.[9]

In 2013, Matusz made the transition to full-time reliever, appearing in 65 games. He was 2–1 with a 3.53 ERA for the Orioles.

On May 23, 2015, Matusz was ejected from the game against the Miami Marlins in the 12th inning for cheating, specifically for having a foreign substance on his right forearm. He was the second pitcher to be ejected for a foreign substance in that past week. He was suspended for 8 games.[10]

On February 4, 2016, Matusz and the Orioles agreed to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration.[11] He was coming off a career-best season out of the bullpen, having posted a 2.94 ERA and 10.29 strikeouts per nine innings 58 relief appearances.

Atlanta Braves

On May 23, Matusz and the 76th pick in the 2016 Major League Baseball draft were traded to the Atlanta Braves in return for minor league pitchers Brandon Barker and Trevor Belicek. The Braves designated Matusz for assignment shortly after completing the trade.[12][13]

Chicago Cubs

Shortly after being released by the Braves, the Chicago Cubs signed Matusz to a minor league deal. After being employed solely as a reliever since 2012, the Cubs assigned Matusz to be a starter in the minors. On July 30, 2016, the Cubs called him up to start against the Seattle Mariners on July 31.[14] However, after a poor outing in that game, the Cubs designated him for assignment the very next day.[15] He later cleared waivers and was outrighted to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs.[16] Despite the fact he only appeared in one game for the Cubs during their 2016 World Series season, he was given a World Series ring.[17]

Arizona Diamondbacks

Matusz signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks on a minor league contract for 2017.[18] After struggling in the minors, he was released on May 16, 2017.

Acereros de Monclova

On July 23, 2019, Matusz signed with the Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League.[19] He was released on July 28, 2019.

Long Island Ducks

On August 2, 2019, Matusz signed with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. He became a free agent following the season.


  1. "2008 Season Outlook". CBS College Sports Network. January 29, 2008. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved November 27, 2011.
  2. "Orioles come to terms with first-round pick Brian Matusz". August 15, 2008. Archived from the original on March 10, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
  3. Cooper, J.J. (February 23, 2010). "The Complete Top 100 Prospects List". Baseball America. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
  4. The Canadian Press (September 14, 2009). "Orioles decide to shut down rookie lefty Matusz". The Sports Network. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
  5. Eddy, Matt (October 19, 2010). "Future Big League Stars Highlight All-Rookie Team". Baseball America. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
  6. Schmuck, Peter (April 2, 2011). "SchmuckMatusz's injury has Orioles already scrambling". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved May 24, 2016.
  7. Zaleon, Avi (June 30, 2011). "Struggling Matusz optioned to Norfolk". Archived from the original on June 17, 2016. Retrieved May 24, 2016.
  8. "Orioles' Brian Matusz out of rotation". Associated Press. September 6, 2011. Retrieved May 24, 2016.
  9. Ghiroli, Brittany (November 7, 2012). "Matusz on track for Spring Training after surgery". Archived from the original on June 17, 2016. Retrieved May 24, 2016.
  10. "Brian Matusz Second Pitcher This Week Ejected for "Foreign Substance"". 24 May 2015.
  11. Kruth, Cash (February 4, 2016). "Orioles avoid arbitration with Matusz". Retrieved May 24, 2016.
  12. Ghiroli, Brittany (May 23, 2016). "O's deal Matusz, improve pitching. On June 14, 2016 the Chicago Cubs signed Matusz to a minor league deal. depth". Retrieved May 24, 2016.
  13. Bowman, Mark (May 23, 2016). "Braves strengthen Draft pool with trade". Retrieved May 24, 2016.
  14. "How to bet Sunday's Mariners-Cubs game". 31 July 2016.
  15. "Cubs Part Ways With LHP Brian Matusz, Recall RHP Spencer Patton". CBS Chicago. 2016-08-01. Retrieved 2016-08-02.
  16. Wray, Miles (2016-08-08). "SP Brian Matusz lands with Triple-A Iowa Cubs". Today's Knuckleball. Retrieved 2016-08-08.
  17. "Matusz returns home, looking for chance in D-backs bullpen". 21 February 2017.
  18. Adams, Steve (February 13, 2017). "D-Backs, Brian Matusz Agree To Minor League Deal". MLB Trade Rumors.
  19. "Ex Grandes Ligas Brian Matusz se une a Acereros" (in Spanish). 23 July 2019. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
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