Matusz on ST, staying healthy and BFF Tillman
So, today when I looked outside my window and saw the sun, I thought “Nice, what a great day it will be in Sarasota.” What I did not plan for, was the whipping winds and 50 degree temps that would make my tank top and cardigan choice a source of mockery from the other reporters, players and coaches. After roughing it and watching practice for two plus hours, I booked it into the locker room at the instant we were allowed in. Normally, I like to wait for all the guys to come off the field. But today, I couldn’t feel my fingers. And we all know how much I need those to write, blog and Twitter.
Anyways, while waiting for manager Dave Trembley to talk to the media in the warmth of his office, I started talking to Brian Matusz. It turned into a fun little Q & A, which I transcribed for you below. Enjoy. At my own foolish expense of course. And keep in mind that Matusz mentions the wind and cold weather- just in case you thought I was being a baby.
(Also, if you were curious, the only player who offered to get me a coat was OF Lou Montanez. I think it’s safe to say he is now my favorite Oriole.)
Me: I could use a good story. Got any good stories?
Matusz: [thinks for a second] I don’t really have any stories right now.
Me: Nothing good? How’s Spring Training going?
Matusz: Spring Training’s great. You want me to talk about that?
Me: Yes, please. Anything, really. I’m bored and need a story.
Matusz: [now in full interview mode] Spring Training’s been great, it’s a great group of guys we have. We all get along. We go out there and take care of business but at the same time, we are joking around with each other and having a good time out there. It was a little bit windy today, pretty cold out there, but everything seems to be going really well.
Me: How is this different from last year’s Spring Training for you?
Matusz: For me, it’s a lot different. Last year was my first Spring Training, I came in, I was really nervous, I didn’t really know anyone. Maybe just a couple guys on the team. This year I know everyone pretty well. Even with the new guys [Mike] Gonzalez, Kevin [Millwood], just great guys. Every day Gonzo always has something to say, something positive. I know that a lot of these guys are really excited about this season because of the talent we have and some of the veteran leadership and everything. It’s a good mix of guys and Gonzalez is an awesome guy. You can just tell he’s real intense and real pumped up about this year. He expects some good things out of a lot of us, and it’s a real motivation booster when you have veteran teammates like that behind you, really pumping you up and getting you excited.
Me: Has Millwood shared some of his wisdom and old baseball stories with you guys yet?
Matusz: Not yet. Kevin’s, I think, trying to get to know us a little bit better. Luckily, Chris Tillman and I have the chance to play catch with him and goof around. He keeps things real loose. You can tell he’s out there working real hard, he just has a good personality. Nice, funny personality, he’s just enjoying himself. He’s one of those guys who is just talking to everyone.
Me: You and Tillman are really close. How did that come about?
Matusz: People joke around about Chris and I being so close. We are always doing things together. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we live together in Spring Training [this year]. We got a condo together, and we come to and from the field together. We didn’t meet until last year in Spring Training and than just right away we started hanging out, becoming good friends. We are both from similar [areas], I’m from Arizona he’s from California, but I went to school in San Diego [at the University of San Diego], so we know a lot of the same people that we played ball together with.
[We’re] just similar personalities, and we both got called up to the big leagues around the same time, so we’ve been able to hang out with each other a bunch and kind of work our way up together. It’s nice having someone there who is in the same situation as me, being young and being put in the spotlight around the same time. So, we kind of learn from each other and work together to learn the unwritten rules and things like that. Chris is a great guy.
Me: Does it help having know Matt Wieters from the minors as well? I know that’s a special relationship pitcher to catcher.
Matusz: Yeah, sure. Matt and I played in the Arizona Fall League together (in 2008), that was my first experience of professional baseball and he was my catcher and we were able to work together and learn about each other a lot. And I feel like it really helped out going into last season when I got brought up to the big leagues. We were both really familiar with each other and I think that really helped out. I know Matt’s a young guy like myself, but he really is a leader out there. He really knows his role and is really helpful and we get along really well, so to have that chemistry between pitcher and catcher is really special.
Me: So you went to school in San Diego. Are excited for the trip out there this year? You guys play them this year.
Matusz: We do. That’s on the schedule; I think it’s the middle of June. I definitely looked at that, told a lot of my friends, coaches back in San Diego. Right now, my focus is on the spring and getting ready, but hopefully I will have the opportunity to pitch in San Diego in front of a big group of family and friends.
Me: I know a lot of guys don’t set individual goals. But is there anything you are focused on this spring you want to carry over into the rest of the year?
Matusz: One big goal for myself is to stay healthy and to pitch throughout the entire season. Last year I got shut down early at the end of the year because of my innings mark, it was already planned ahead. But this year, my goal is to stay healthy, stay strong and prove that I can go past that mark and stay healthy all the way through it. That’s my main goal.
Me: This was great. Anything else you want to add?
Matusz: No, not really. I hope it gets warm soon, so I can go to the beach. Go check out Siesta Key.
You hear that weather gods? Brian Matusz wants to go to the beach. And so do I. So make it happen.