Matusz overcomes rocky start against Tigers

March 30, 2012|By Eduardo A. Encina | The Baltimore Sun

SARASOTA, Fla. — Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz overcame a rocky start in the first inning against the Tigers Friday afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium, but settled in for another steady spring start.

Matusz yielded hits to the first four batters he faced and gave up three runs in the first inning, but allowed just one base hit after that.

"(I) just came out of the gates amped up with a lot of energy," Matusz said. "The first inning, it killed me not getting ahead in the count, gave up some two-strike hits. After that first inning, I was able to shake it off and just get back to work with Wieters. I really found a nice rhythm."

Over five innings of work, Matusz allowed five hits and three runs, striking out four and walking one. He ended his outing retiring nine straight batters.

"I felt strong," Matusz said. "I felt just as strong in the fifth inning as I did in the first. I was able to get my pitch count up and I was able to iron out the mechanical adjustments I’ve needed to."

Matusz, the odds-on favorite to win the No. 5 rotation spot, would be in order to start Wednesday's exhibition against Triple-A Norfolk. On the spring, Matusz allowed 10 earned runs in 24 2/3 innings for a 3.65 ERA, striking out 24 and walking just three.

"You know, I did what I needed to this spring in order to go out and continue to build up my pitch count and get confortable on the mound again," he said. "I feel like I’ve built my pitch count up and I’m strong and I’ve made the adjustments I’ve needed to mechanically and I feel like I’m on the right track to prepare myself for the season."

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