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Orioles bring back lefty reliever Zach Phillips, possible Brian Matusz insurance

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The Orioles added lefty reliever Zach Phillips on Wednesday, a possible sign that Brian Matusz could be missing some time this season.

Yesterday on As The Lefty Turns, the Orioles revealed that reliever Brian Matusz had undergone a cortisone injection for the same back injury that had him shelved earlier in spring training. They also indicated that Matusz will probably be in doubt for Opening Day. Today, a possible replacement arrives in the form of Zach Phillips, a former Oriole who is now an Oriole again.

To make room for Phillips on the roster, the O's jettisoned lefty starter Chris Jones. someone who I figured they liked more than they apparently actually do. Jones has been designated for assignment after posting a 2.94 ERA in 30 games (22 starts) for the Norfolk Tides last season. Those are decent numbers and it seems like enough to keep a guy floating around on the 40-man roster just in case. So much for that idea.

Phillips hasn't pitched in MLB since 2013, when he popped into three games for the Marlins. He stopped briefly in Japan in 2014 before spending last season with Triple-A Charlotte in the White Sox organization.

If the O's were reasonably confident that they would have Matusz ready for Opening Day, you figure they wouldn't make a move like this. It could be a sign that they anticipate more than just a short absence also, otherwise why not roll without a lefty specialist for a couple of weeks rather than give up a player? I guess he could turn out to just be insurance and he was the best insurance they could find on March 23.