BALTIMORE -- Jim Thome has had more than 10,000 plate appearances in his 22-year Major League career, meaning he's seen his fair share of pitchers.
So when Thome throws around the type of praise he did after watching top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy's first start with Double-A Bowie on Tuesday, it's worth taking notice.
"He might be one of the best young pitchers I've seen in quite a while," Thome said. "He's got so much upside to him."
With Thome watching from just a few rows behind home plate, Bundy allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings, earning a win in his Double-A debut.
At the request of manager Buck Showalter, Thome took the 40-minute drive to Bowie to watch Bundy from a hitter's perspective, a nice break from the monotony of rehabbing a herniated disk in his neck.
Thome came away impressed with Bundy's physical appearance, and Showalter said Thome reported on things like presentation and tipping pitches, ultimately giving a report very similar to Bowie pitching coach Kennie Steenstra's.
"He looks like a great pitcher," Thome said. "He's got a great arm, and it's fun. It's fun going down there seeing him. He's obviously got a big, bright career ahead of him."
Although Thome said he enjoyed the scouting process, he didn't want to speculate on whether a coaching, scouting or managerial role could be in his future.
"It's hard to say," Thome said. "When I'm done playing, I want to spend some time with my kids. Maybe one day a little bit, but not right away."
Thome was equally noncommittal on whether he thought Bundy could be useful to the O's in September, when Major League rosters expand to 40 players.
"That's not my call," Thome said. "My thing of it is, he's ... got so much ability and so much positive upside to him. That's for other people to decide and figure that out."
Duquette: Matusz's move to bullpen only temporary
BALTIMORE -- Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said prior to Wednesday's game that the organization still views Brian Matusz as a starter long-term.
"It's for right now," Duquette said of the decision to try the left-handed Matusz as a reliever. "I think if he can be a starter, we can have more value and develop a better career for him. For now, he can certainly help us in relief in that role.
"We always look internally and externally at the same time. With the players we have internally, a lot of times if we take the time to look at what they do well, a lot of times the answer is right there. Like Matusz has a great record against left-handed hitters. His whole career. Not just this year, but his whole career. So with [Troy] Patton's injury, there's an opportunity. We've been looking for another left-hander out of the bullpen. It's an opportunity for him to help us."
Matusz made his debut out of the bullpen with Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday, earning the save but allowing two runs on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts in three innings. Left-handed hitters were 1-for-5 with a walk and three strikeouts against him.
Duquette didn't seem overly optimistic that the organization would have any external help on the horizon, despite the season-long search to add starting pitching.
"A lot of the pitching is not available that was available at the time of the Trade Deadline," said Duquette, who did not make a move at this year's Deadline. "[Jason] Hammel looks good, so if we can get him back and keep the others going, that will be very helpful. If we can get [Hammel] back, that would be the equivalent of bringing in a veteran pitcher to help the team."
The 29-year-old Hammel, who is recovering from right knee surgery, could possibly throw a simulated game sometime during the team's next road trip. The Orioles are targeting an early September return for Hammel, who will help boost a rotation that currently includes Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman.
Asked if the club is still looking for external corner infield help, which Duquette said was still an emphasis after promoting top prospect Manny Machado, the play of Machado and improvement of Mark Reynolds seems to have softened his stance.
"You like Machado? You like what he's done?," Duquette said with a grin about the 20-year-old, who was named Co-American League Player of the Week last week. "How about [second baseman Omar] Quintanilla? You think he's done a good job? So do they look like everyday players? OK."
Quintanilla has three home runs since joining the Orioles, and he had three total in 592 career at-bats prior to coming to Baltimore.
"He has a good fundamental approach to hitting, so generally when you have a good fundamental approach, you get good results," Duquette said.
Right wrist still sore, Betemit to undergo MRI
BALTIMORE -- Wilson Betemit was out of Wednesday's lineup and is scheduled to get an MRI on Thursday morning on a sore right wrist that has been bothering him the past two days.
"He tried to hit a little bit today, and it's day to day," manager Buck Showalter said of Betemit. "He's better today than he was yesterday."
With the arrival of top prospect Manny Machado, Betemit was expected to platoon with Mark Reynolds at first base, but he hasn't played since Sunday. Showalter said the wrist began bothering Betemit, who is hitting .306 against right-handed pitching, during Monday's off-day, which is also the day reliever Troy Patton rolled his right ankle. Reynolds started at first base Wednesday and is coming off his first multihomer game of the season in Tuesday's 7-1 win vs. the Red Sox.
Right now, the Orioles are optimistic Betemit's injury isn't serious.
"[We] should have an idea if that's anything more than tendinitis. [I] hope to know sometime after noon," Showalter said.
Thome and Patton will both be leaving the team after Wednesday's game to continue their rehab away from Baltimore. Thome, who will be traveling home to Chicago, has been on the disabled list since July 31 due to a herniated disk in his neck. Patton went on the DL on Tuesday due to a sprained right ankle and will rehab at the team's Spring Training facility in Sarasota, Fla.
Hammel threw off a mound for the second time on Wednesday, and Showalter said the righty was "OK," although not as good as in his first bullpen session on Monday. Hammel has been on the disabled list since July 15 due to a right knee injury that required surgery.
Ryan Flaherty started at third base and batted third for Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday, the next step in his rehab from a bacterial infection that landed him on the disabled list on Aug. 8. Flaherty finished 0-for-4 and is now 0-for-8 in his two games with Norfolk.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. Greg Luca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.