Matusz pleased with latest side session

SARASOTA, Fla. - Nolan Reimold reported to camp this afternoon. We're still waiting on Derrek Lee, Luke Scott, Nick Markakis, Ryan Adams and Pedro Florimon. Position players are required to be here on Sunday.

Pitcher Mitch Atkins is still dealing with a sore left oblique muscle. Starter Brad Bergesen went back to his hotel with virus-like symptoms.

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Brian Matusz threw off a mound for the third time this spring. I wanted to pass along his comments while waiting for the Vladimir Guerrero press conference.

"I feel good physically," he said. "For me, my main goal is to get both my two-seamer and my four-seam fastball down, because once I have those two pitches down, my changeup, slider and curveball work off it. I dropped in a couple curveballs today and they felt really nice. My changeup is a little inconsistent right now, which is normal at the beginning. It's just getting that grip down, being able to feel that grip.

"I feel like each side session, I've improved. I'm getting better and better, starting to feel more comfortable location-wise, and I feel strong. The velocity will come once the games start. I feel like I'm on a good track right now, right where I need to be."

Matusz isn't worried about where he'll be slotted. Jeremy Guthrie is expected to take the ball on opening day. Matusz should follow him in the second game.

"I've come into camp thinking everyone's got an opportunity," he said. "It's a new year, everyone's fresh coming in. For me, it's just getting to where I need to be to be ready for games. These other things work themselves out on their own. My goal is to make the team and be a starter. Where I'm slotted at one through five, to be honest with you, doesn't matter.

"We've got a lot of good pitchers here. Obviously, I'd like to be at the top of the rotation. That's my ultimate goal. But for me, it's just preparing myself, throwing these bullpen sessions and getting ready for the season. I want to be ready wherever I'm at in the rotation. And once that Game One starts, we're ready to win. That's what it's all about - winning. And let the pieces fall into place.

"Where I'm slotted is out of my control. All I can control is how prepared I am for Game One."

Matusz is glad to have Guerrero on his team. Too bad it didn't happen last season.

"That would have been two less home runs I gave up last year," he quipped.

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