ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Baltimore left-hander Brian Matusz was scratched from his scheduled start on Saturday due to soreness on the left side of his mid-back and will be placed on the disabled list.

Matusz underwent an MRI exam Friday that found a strain in a muscle between the ribs and the back. He will not throw for seven to 10 days, and will be sidelined three to four weeks.

“It’s real tough, especially opening the season today,” Matusz said after the Orioles beat Tampa Bay 4-1 on Friday night. “All the excitement and energy, how well we played. It was a lot of fun to watch. It’s not easy. I’m going to have to work to get it better each and everyday.”

Promising left-hander Zach Britton will be recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to make his major league debut Sunday. Chris Tillman will move up one day and start Saturday.

“He’s definitely ready,” Matusz said of Britton. “He showed us in spring that he is. It’s unfortunate for me I can’t go, but that’s a great opportunity for Zach.”

Matusz also got a cortisone shot.

“The MRI showed a pretty good hot spot there,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “We’ll be on the cautious side with it.”

Matusz went 10-12 with a 4.30 ERA in 32 starts last season.

“He went out there (Friday) to throw and make sure he was ready to go, he had some acute pain there,” Showalter said. “It wasn’t good. He only threw two, three throws.”

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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