In looking ahead to their 2012 rotation, the Orioles probably can't project Brian Matusz as one of their starting five right now. Not after a season where he went 1-9 with a 10.69 ERA, spent time on the disabled list and made just 12 major league starts with 11 more coming in the minors.
Matusz was a guest last night on "The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report" on MASN and told the hosts he is working out in Irvine, Calif., this winter with former Oriole Brady Anderson.
"With Brady, it's getting on a good routine and lifting for power," Matusz said of his workouts. "I lost a lot of velocity when I came back from my injury, so it's important to get that back and get stronger and faster and be more athletic. I'm excited for these next few months to really get after it with Brady and prepare for spring."
In his 12 big league starts last season, Matusz gave up a batting average against of .372 with a 2.11 WHIP after a 2010 season where American League batters hit just .255 off him and his WHIP was 1.34.
"It was a down year for me," he said. "It was one of those years you never want to have, but I was able to learn a lot from the season, through the ups and downs and going through circumstances I had never been through before. It is tough to find any positives, except to recognize what went wrong and make adjustments as I prepare for next year.
"All the best pitchers go out there and compete and win on days they are not at their best. It's all a learning experience. After a season like that it is real easy to lose confidence, but having this off time has been good. Deep down I know I can compete at this level."
In 2010, Matusz went 10-12 with an ERA of 4.30 over 32 starts. He was 6-0 with an ERA of 1.57 over his last eight starts. He was asked what is the biggest adjustment he will have to make to return to his 2010 form next season.
"For me, it's coming into camp in great shape - you know, being able to compete for a starting role and to find myself right away. And to be able to make adjustments off that like any pitcher," he said.
"Just to find that groove. For me, having a few months (away) has been really nice, giving me time to kind of take a deep breath and re-gather myself. I need to be consistent and compete every five days and come into spring ready to roll."
Matusz sounded pleased that, after going through two major league pitching coaches last year, he will have the same one moving forward.
"It's nice to have Rick Adair back for a second season, someone that we are all familiar with. Something to work off from last year. Not seeing new faces is nice, being able to continue to work with Rick and get better," he said.
Matusz sounded upbeat and felt the entire team would have a good outlook for the 2012 season.
"Anytime you come into a fresh season, you have to feel good. All the opportunity in the world to go out there, compete and be the best. Coming off a year where I know guys learned a lot. New acquisitions we can make, we keep getting better. I think everyone is optimistic about what we have and we're excited," he said.
"I'm 100 percent healthy now, so I have all the opportunity in the world in front of me. That is all I can look at now."
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Coming here tomorrow: An interview with Baseball America's Jim Callis as he looks as the recent CBA changes to the draft and how they impact teams like the Orioles.