For the second straight year, the team could find itself in a position handing out the bobblehead of a player who's serving out a demotion in the minors.
This year it could be pitcher Brian Matusz(notes), whose likeness is scheduled to be given away at Camden Yards at Aug. 6. But the real Matusz is currently pitching at Triple-A Norfolk after being demoted from the big league team on June 30.
It wouldn't be the first time the O's had a bobblehead honoree as a no-show on his special night. Nolan Reimold(notes) celebrated his special day last season as a member of the Norfolk Tides. Like Matusz, the outfielder is a projected member of Baltimore's future core but has had trouble living up to expectations — on the field and in the promotions office — in the early stages of his career.
Can Matusz return in time to appreciate his bobble in person? It doesn't seem likely. The O's haven't set a timetable for his return, but Matusz — who missed the season's first two months with an injury — has struggled in his first four minor league starts. Through 26.2 innings with Norfolk, he owns an 0-3 record with a 4.73 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. His last start came on Thursday and it wasn't good: eight runs (seven earned) over 3 2/3 innings.
You really can't blame the Orioles for scheduling the promotion. Not after Matusz finished fifth in the voting for 2010 AL ROY, going 10-12 with a 4.30 ERA while striking out 143 batters, tops of any rookie in the league.