Matusz happy with second outing

For the second straight outing, Orioles starter Brian Matusz really liked the way he pitched.

After surrendering a leadoff double and allowing a pair of runs courtesy of an RBI single by Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel’s run-scoring double, Matusz retired seven straight batters en route to another solid spring start.

“I felt real good,” Matusz said of the 46-pitch effort.”My fastball in and out was excellent today. I threw some effective change ups. I felt comfortable out there.”

After laboring through a 26-pitch first, Matusz made quick work of the Twins hitters. He struck out Luke Hughes on four pitches and got a pair of quick infield outs to make ensure he would go to the hill in the third. Matusz struck out Ben Revere -who doubled off him in his first at-bat — and sent Punto down looking to end his afternoon.

“I was really hitting the fastball down and in really well on righties, and I was happy about that,” Matusz said. “And I threw some good two-seamers. I felt like I had a lot of action on my two-seamer today, which was very effective for me.”

Matusz said the pitch Revere doubled off of was a good pitch, and only really regretted the ball that Cuddyer hit, which was a missed location.

Despite an impressive four-pitch repertoire, Matusz used his first outing on Thursday in Port Charlotte to zero in on fastball command.  He had the same plan on Monday, but this time he mixed in all his offspeed, including his curveball.

“I don’t know about the percentages, but I feel I’ve thrown the fastball for the majority of my pitches,” Matusz said. “I’m still trying to throw all three of my off-speed pitches, using them at the right times and trying not to overdo it. That’s pretty much my main focus, just to get comfortable out there, get my work in, attack the zone with all the pitches. I felt like I threw a lot of strikes today.”

With four strikeouts on Thursday, Matusz has fanned 10 batters in his first four Spring Training innings. And more importantly to Matusz, he hasn’t walked a batter.

“One thing I’m really happy about, is when I get to a 3-2 count, I’ve been able to really pound the zone and throw strikes,” he said. “And not giving anyone any free passes is big.”

Just 23, Matusz is projected to be part of an O’s rotation that includes Kevin Millwood, Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Tillman and Brad Bergesen.

The fourth overall pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, Matusz dominated through two levels of the Minors last year, going a combined 11-2 with a 1.91 ERA. After a few bumpy starts following his inaugural callup in August, Matusz settled in, going 4-0 with a 3.73 ERA over his last five outings. 

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