Matusz: "The pain's gone"

The look on Brian Matusz's face earlier today made it obvious that he felt good throwing in the outfield and from the front of the bullpen mound. He was grinning and eager to talk about the sessions. He also gave teammate Chris Tillman an enthusiastic fist bump before heading back inside the clubhouse.

Matusz and Tillman did some long-tossing from 120 feet. Matusz threw 15-20 light pitches in the bullpen before returning to his locker.

"I felt really good. I felt good health-wise and I felt good mechanically," he said. "The pain's gone. I want to keep it that way. I've just got to be able to build my way back up as possible without taking it too far too fast.

"I'm really excited just to get on that mound again. I know it wasn't a real bullpen, but just to step on that mound and still get that feeling - a nice, easy catch off the mound with a little bit of angle - it felt nice. It just felt really good and I'm excited to get going.

"I feel like I'm in a good place health-wise and it's just a matter of building myself up."

Matusz isn't sure whether he'll throw a real bullpen session Thursday. He'll meet with manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Mark Connor to discuss the next step in his program.

Matusz will go to Sarasota while the Orioles begin a two-city road trip in Chicago. He'll pitch in at least one extended spring training game before starting an injury rehab assignment.

The Orioles are projecting his return in the middle of May.

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