The Orioles have placed starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo on the disabled list with right shoulder/bicep tendinitis and activated left-handed reliever Brian Matusz (back) from the DL, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (on Twitter). Gallardo will head to the 15-day DL, the Orioles announced.
The right-handed Gallardo left his start Friday after two innings because of shoulder discomfort, and he said afterward that the issue began while he was warming up in the bullpen before the game.
“My shoulder just didn’t feel right. To be honest, it was one of those feelings that I’ve never had my whole career,” Gallardo stated (via Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun).
Prior to exiting, Gallardo allowed four earned runs on five hits and a walk in a 4-2 loss to the Royals. Through his first four starts this season, the 30-year-old has posted a 7.00 ERA while experiencing a drop in velocity. Further, his K/9 – which has declined precipitously in recent years – has taken another step back this season, going from an already low 5.91 in 2015 to just 4.5. And Gallardo’s normally high ground-ball rate is currently at a career-worst 37.9 percent. All of that spells trouble for Gallardo and the Orioles, who inked him to a two-year, $22MM deal in February after they nixed an agreed-upon third year because of a shoulder problem that popped up in his physical.
“Hopefully (Gallardo) will respond to a period of rest and rehabilitation and return to contribute to the team,” said general manager Dan Duquette (Twitter link via Kubatko).
With Gallardo down, Kevin Gausman’s return becomes all the more important to the Orioles, whose rotation entered Saturday toward the bottom of the league in ERA (5.16). Gausman is expected to make his 2016 debut Monday after missing the first few weeks of the season because of tendinitis in his throwing shoulder. The Orioles’ rotation should now at least temporarily consist of Gausman, Chris Tillman, Ubaldo Jimenez, Mike Wright and Tyler Wilson, who will start for the team Saturday.
Unlike Baltimore’s rotation, its bullpen has produced excellent results this year and the return of Matusz should only help matters. Matusz has combined for 151 2/3 innings with a 3.32 ERA in relief over the last three seasons. The 29-year-old has also averaged 9.44 K/9 and 3.15 BB/9 during that time. Matusz will now slide into a 2016 relief corps that also features Zach Britton, Darren O’Day, Brad Brach, Dylan Bundy and Mychal Givens. Thanks largely to those five, Orioles relievers have put up the second-best bullpen ERA in baseball this year (1.74).