Snyder now wears uniform at Camden Yards
Rookie hopes to make favorable impression in final games
BALTIMORE -- Brandon Snyder grew up coming to Camden Yards, often making the drive from Virginia with his grandfather to watch the Orioles play.
On Monday, it was Snyder's turn, as the O's rookie, who was part of September callups and made his Major League debut on Friday in Detroit, got his first home start in the series opener against Toronto.
"I was almost expecting to come in and kind of be sitting [Monday]," said Snyder, who entered Friday's game as a ninth-inning defensive replacement and made his first start on Sunday.
"But I am extremely excited about getting a chance to get in there again. [Sunday] was a good first step into trying to relax and just play the game."
The first baseman went 0-for-3 on Sunday and O's manager Buck Showalter said on Monday that he wanted to get guys like Snyder and Robert Andino -- who also started on Sunday -- a pair of consecutive games to hopefully get their adrenaline down to "a manageable level."
"I said earlier when we were playing Tampa and New York and Boston, with the competitive integrity, that when we got into some of these games, we'd try to get some more looks at guys," Showalter said.
"Because those [looks] are dwindling. The innings played, the innings pitched, those opportunities to help us make good decisions."
Snyder said he didn't feel "overmatched" at the Major League level and acknowledged that he's motivated -- like most of the young Orioles -- to finish the season strong and make a favorable impression for next spring.
"I look at this almost like a tryout for me," Snyder said. "Buck has never seen me before. I want to work hard and show him the kind of player I am."
He made certain Monday's game would be one he wouldn't forget, as Snyder collected his first Major League hit and RBI with a second-inning single off Blue Jays starter Marc Rzepczynski.
Injuries pile up in victory over Jays
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles' first win this season against the Blue Jays wasn't without consequence, as a pair of players exited Monday's 4-3 walkoff win.
Rookie starter Brian Matusz suffered a left triceps contusion on the second at-bat of the game, and Brian Roberts' night ended after being struck in the right knee by Jason Frasor's pitch in the bottom of the eighth.
Both Roberts and Matusz finished their respective half-innings before leaving, although O's manager Buck Showalter said both instances were more precautionary than anything else.
"Matusz, obviously, got hit right on the triceps, it was only going to get worse as the game went on," Showalter said of his decision to lift the 23-year-old from the game.
Matusz recorded the final two outs of the first inning before leaving.
"I wasn't taking a chance at this point, at any point, actually," Showalter added.
Matusz was struck by Yunel Escobar's comebacker and play was momentarily suspended while he conferred with assistant athletic trainer Brian Ebel and pitching coach Rick Kranitz. Showalter, who was already on the field to contest first-base umpire Bruce Dreckman's ruling, also came over to the mound, and after several warmup pitches, Matusz remained in the game. But it would be the last frame, as Rick VandenHurk replaced Matusz to start the second inning.
"It's in a spot that really doesn't scare me too much, it's right on the triceps, that's why I didn't feel it when I was throwing," said Matusz, who got treatment during the game and admitted that the area had already swollen up quite a bit.
"You never want it to swell up and cause any more problems ... it's a smart thing to do in the long run, you don't want things to get worse by any means."
Showalter said following Monday's game that he didn't anticipate Matusz's schedule being altered for his next start, and was equally optimistic about Roberts, who is day-to-day and will be reevaluated on Tuesday.
Roberts was hit with a first-pitch fastball and limped gingerly to first base, where he was greeted by Ebel and Showalter. He took several steps off the bag to test his knee but remained in the tie game, representing the go-ahead run. Following Robert Andino's flyout, Roberts did not return.
"Robby wanted to stay in there, but I didn't like what I was seeing [from him on the basepaths]," said Showalter, who moved Andino over to second base for the top of the ninth.
"We'll see where he is [Tuesday]. [The pitch hit him] more the fleshy part than on the knee, but if you watched the ball, it went straight down. It was pretty flush."
The O's were also without the services of Julio Lugo, who has been dealing with headaches recently and hasn't been available since Saturday's game in Detroit. Showalter said Lugo's headaches are on the other side of his head where he was hit in Anaheim at the end of August, but the team wants to exercise caution. Lugo is scheduled to undergo an MRI early Tuesday afternoon.
Jays' Lewis gets another shot in Baltimore
BALTIMORE -- Rommie Lewis has finally made it to Camden Yards, something the Toronto left-hander and longtime Orioles farmhand thought might never happen.
"I've never seen a game here, never thought I'd actually get to play here," Lewis said before Monday's opener of a three-game series against his former organization.
"The time has come, I guess."
The 28-year-old was a fourth-round pick of the Orioles in the 2001 Draft and spent seven years in the club's farm system, topping out with two seasons at Double-A Bowie in 2007-08. He was 1-6 with a 3.41 ERA in 38 games, including five starts in 2008, but turned down the contract he was offered in the offseason, because he felt he wouldn't get a chance to move up.
"They offered me a contract and I said, 'No thanks,' Lewis said. "It's worked out better than I could imagine. I felt like I was dead in the water with those guys, just an organizational guy. They showed me no signs of moving me up -- I was there eight years and never got above Double-A."
Lewis signed with Toronto in January 2009 and, for the first time in his career, worked solely out of the bullpen the following season, splitting time between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Las Vegas. He was recalled from Las Vegas on Sept. 5 after going 1-5 with a 7.59 ERA in 24 games, including eight starts.
The left-hander has made 14 appearances this season with the Blue Jays, posting a 6.75 ERA. Seven of his outings have been for more than one inning, meaning Lewis has at least found a niche. Lewis said the frequent changes in personnel precluded him from doing so in Baltimore.
"There were three or four different Minor League development directors [while he was with Baltimore], a ton of moves in the front office," Lewis said. "They were trying to find that right mix, and I still think they're searching."
Lewis has kept in contact with former Orioles manager Dave Trembley, who managed him in the Baltimore organization, and exchanged text messages with a couple of his former teammates. Lewis said the prospect of pitching against his original organization is a motivational tool.
"It gives me a little extra fuel to the fire," he said. "We've got a lot of history together."
Get your Buck T-shirts while they last
BALTIMORE -- Buck Showalter might be the only one unaware of his popularity in Baltimore. The new O's skipper, who entered Monday with a 23-15 record, will be the namesake on Tuesday's T-Shirt night giveaway at Camden Yards, a contest voted on by fans.
"Believe me, there will plenty of them left over, I guarantee you," Showalter said of his T-shirts. "That might be a two- or three-day special for next year and the offseason. I know what we'll be seeing [people saying], 'I've got a few of these. You want to get rid of these?'"
Showalter shirts will be given to the first 10,000 fans 15 and over to arrive at the Orioles-Blue Jays matchup at 7:05 p.m. In addition, left-hander Brian Matusz will receive August's American League Rookie of the Month award in a pregame ceremony.
O's manager Buck Showalter met with president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail on Monday afternoon to go over pending player and personnel decisions, including the state of the club's six-man rotation. For now, the team will continue to stay on schedule with six starters and will not skip a pitcher's turn to try to lengthen their season. Instead, the O's will allot young starters like Jake Arrieta, one or two more starts before shutting them down for the remainder of the year. Barring any injury, the O's will not shut down any relievers. ... Prior to Monday's game, Jeremy Guthrie received the Roberto Clemente Award, presented by Chevrolet in a special on-field ceremony. Guthrie is one of the 30 Club nominees who are finalists for the national award, given annually to the Major League player who combines a dedication to giving back to the community with outstanding skills on the baseball field. He has been active with many different organizations since he joined the Orioles in 2007, including Baltimore's Helping Up Mission, a program that serves the spiritual and physical needs of poor and homeless men. He also gives motivational speeches to groups in Baltimore and Sarasota, visits wounded soldiers and participates in the Orioles annual Holiday Party for underprivileged kids. ... On Saturday the Orioles, Oriole Advocates and Legg Mason will hold the annual Cardboard to Leather Collection at Oriole Park before the O's take on the Yankees. Volunteers at each gate of the park will accept donations of new and gently used baseball and softball equipment. Monetary donations will also be accepted. Those contributing to the collection will receive an autographed Luke Scott player card.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. Pete Kerzel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.