SARASOTA, Fla. - Brian Matusz threw 35-40 pitches in the bullpen this morning and didn’t feel any discomfort in his left biceps. He remains scheduled to take the ball Saturday night against the Rays at Tropicana Field, making him the No. 2 starter in the rotation.
Chris Tillman said he hasn’t been told whether he’s starting the third game, but he’s headed to manager Buck Showalter’s office to find out. Jake Arrieta is pitching in the minor league game and will start the April 4 home opener at Camden Yards.
Matusz was limited to 13 2/3 innings this spring, allowing 10 runs (nine earned) and 17 hits, with seven walks and 13 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings. He surrendered three home runs.
Matusz still has a large bruise on his biceps after being hit by an LJ Hoes line drive on Monday, but it’s turning a yellowish color, which is a sign that it’s healing.
“I felt good,” he said. “It was a little bit stiff yesterday. We were just going to take it day-by-day. That’s all we could do. This morning, I woke up and went in the training room and it felt good. They gave the green light to go and throw. I threw my side session today and I didn’t feel one thing. I felt great. It was 100 percent, not an issue.
“We’re still going to treat it to make sure the inflammation stays down, but it felt good. The side was really good. I felt in a good rhythm and I was able to get my work in. Now, I should be on track and I’ll get ready for Saturday. Full motion, full strength, 100 percent. It’s not affecting me.”
Matusz played catch before heading to the bullpen and throwing all of his pitches.
“The whole amount,” he said. “I threw every pitch, stretch, windup. I felt great. I wasn’t even thinking about it, to be honest with you. I played catch. I knew that while I was playing catch, it wasn’t bothering me. Now, I’m just back on track, focusing in on the start.”
Matusz admitted that he woke up yesterday unsure whether he’d make Saturday’s start, but the discomfort subsided this morning and his mood brightened.
“I was a little bit nervous yesterday because it was tight and just because of the swelling, but just doing the treatment, keeping the inflammation down allowed me to just feel good,” he said. “Since it was kind of in the biceps spot, they just wanted to make sure that muscle wasn’t tender or hurting at all while I was throwing that could hurt anything else in my body. It was 100 percent today, so I have to be thankful for that.”
Matusz isn’t concerned about his limited number of innings.
“I feel like I’m built up right now,” he said. “It would have been nice in my last outings to go a little bit longer, but I’ve been able to get extra work in on those off days, just throwing and working on stuff every day. I came in strong and in good shape. I feel like I’m 100 percent ready for the season. Everything is behind me - the finger thing, this arm thing is behind me. I’m not even going to think about it. I’m going to move forward and get back on track. I feel like I’m 100 percent ready to go. I’m just excited for Saturday. I’m really excited.”
Also, the Orioles purchased Josh Rupe’s contract today and added him to the 40-man roster, bringing the Orioles’ total to 39.
Brad Bergesen made it through two innings in the minor league game without incident.
Rick VandenHurk, removed from the 40-man, got knocked around a little by the minor league hitters. A few seeing-eye hits, too.