Manager Dave Trembley hasn't shown a hint of concern over the rotation's inability to reach its innings limit before today, but it had to be satisfying to sit in the dugout and watch Brian Matusz make it through the fifth.
"It sets the tone," he said. "That's what the good ones do, they set the tone, and he did today. In order for us to be successful, we're going to have to have good starting pitching. We're going to have it on a consistent basis."
Matusz held the Phillies' potent lineup to one run. They challenged him with their big guns, and he mostly silenced them.
"Matusz probably loved it, the type of competitor he is," Trembley said. "I'm sure he was up to the test."
Trembley said he isn't surprised by Matusz's results this spring. The left-hander isn't exceeding his expectations.
"He's got room to get better," Trembley said. "He's a young guy. The guy is special. That's the best way to put it. He's special. He's going to be good."
President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail showed some restraint when asked about Matusz, as he usually does when the subject turns to the organization's young talent.
"It's nice to get five innings this early," he said. "Again, we have to take the good with a grain of salt, just like we take the bad with a grain of salt. It was a good thing to see him out there and getting us into the sixth, and we're not even in the middle of march yet, so that's pretty impressive. But again, we'll see how things evolve over time."
MacPhail didn't express any concern over Mike Gonzalez's lower back, which tightened up during yesterday's B-squad game.
"I can only go by what our medical staff says," MacPhail said. "The only guy who's on our radar for being a potential issue for Opening Day is Brian."
Housekeeping item: Ripken Baseball announced that former Orioles center fielder and coach Al Bumbry will headline its annual Ripken Academy Spring Break Camp as an MLB instructor. The camp takes place April 1-3 at the Ripken youth baseball academy in Aberdeen.
Bumbry will take part in the three-day camp, which is an opportunity for players to learn about all aspects of the game of baseball. It includes infield, pitching, outfield, hitting, and team instruction, as well as instructional games each afternoon.
All campers will receive a written evaluation from their instructors at the end of the week.
The camp costs $300 per player for ages 7-8 and $350 per player for ages 9-12. For more information,call 866-RIPKEN1 or register online at www.ripkencamps.com.