Matusz solid in spring debut

Orioles lefty Brian Matusz, who is vying for a rotation spot, allowed a pair of singles to start the game and retired the next five batters in a scoreless two-inning start against the Yankees Monday afternoon. Matusz threw 30 pitches, 20 strikes, in his first spring start.

“It was nice to get out there and get the first one out of the way, kind of get in the rhythm again,” said Matusz, who was used out of the bullpen for the Orioles down the stretch last year. “It’s been a while since I’ve been a starter. It’s nice to work on the routine again and try and find that. Out there on the mound, working well with [Matt] Wieters and the group, establishing the fastball. Threw some changeups, got a couple of groundballs out of it…It was a nice first start. Good to have something to go off of now.”

Of the two hits, one was an infield single that speedy Yankees outfielder Brett Garnder beat out after Chris Davis made a great stop at first base and relayed the throw to Matusz.

“I thought I felt good from the get-go,” Matusz said. “Gardner, he’s a tough out. He puts the ball on the ground. You’ve got to be perfect. He’s so fast. [Jayson] Nix, [hit] a little bleeder. Those type of things happen. Nice to be able to bounce back and get good defense.”

The Orioles turned a double-play on Matt Diaz’s ball for the first two outs of the game and Matusz, who said he was able to fall into a rhythm, followed that up with a strikeout of Juan Rivera.

Asked what he’s working on this spring, Matusz said everything.

“Finding a routine as a starter, get everything going, fastball in-and-out, curveball, slider, changeup,” he said. “Right  now, my focus is getting my fastball and changeup established. Breaking pitches [are] a little bit behind right now, curveball and slider aren’t there. Like I said, got the fastball and changeup going, the curveball and slider will work out.”

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