Here are a few more pregame comments from manager Buck Showalter:
On whether he anticipates Brian Matusz being amped up for Monday’s start vs. the Yankees:
“He did that a little bit this spring as far as, first time out it was like he was running pretty fast. There were a lot of hamsters running around pretty quick there. He slowed them down. I expect it. That’s part of it. All of these guys had it and got back in control. That’s part of it. It’ll happen till the day he quits playing. It has nothing to do with fear of failure. Anxiety’s always there for all of us a little bit.
“The thing that always hit me when I first got to the big leagues was the lack of self-confidence of major league players compared to what I thought it would be. I’m not saying Brian’s one of those guys. He’s kind of the opposite side of it. But guys who were 10-year veterans and on All-Star teams two or three years, the ‘Oh God, is it going away? I can’t do this anymore.’ I was kind of like, ‘Wow.’ It made me believe it’s not necessarily a bad trait. They don’t get comfortable.”
On a possible change in attitude for the Orioles:
“It’s one thing to have the attitude, it’s another thing to have the ability and approach to do it. There’s a lot of guys who have the want-to, the makeup, but you’ve got to be able to execute at this level. It’s one thing to have the makekup and the approach and the confidence and the get-after-it, but it’s another thing to have the approach and understand more isn’t always better. You can’t overpower the game.
“I don’t know if anybody had a better offseason of work compared to where they were when they left than Tommy Hunter. You’re talking about 20-30 pounds, you’re talking about a different approach. You can see from his eating habits and everything that, a lot of people have missed that, what Tommy did this offseason. And I’m proud of him. You look at his record in the major leagues. This guy’s a winning pitcher in the major leagues. He’s started playoff games. This is a guy who’s been on the big stage at a young age.”
On Hunter’s comment that starters are expected to work deep in games:
“You look at the differences. I was looking at Tampa. I was looking at (James) Shields’ history, two years where everybody was getting ready to ... you could have had him for (nothing). But it’s something that you can’t ... there’s a process. Some guys are a little quicker than others. We always hope, but in the back of our minds we know that they’re going to have to go through that and get their tails handed to them. If they’re going to bite, they’ve got all those, the good and the bad, where everybody’s telling them they’re the greatest and the flavor of the month and it’s going to be a different timeframe with this guy, and then they struggle and a lot of people scatter. The good ones start fighting back and I think that’s where we are with some of the guys. And along the way, you filter the pot a little bit.”
On today’s starter, Jason Hammel:
“I look at it as a 29-year-old guy who had his struggles and was traded, and started to figure out who he was, especially toward the end of last year. Talking to Jim Tracy and some people I trust over there about where he was, we’re basically trying to pick up on what happened with him the last month and a half of the season over in Colorado, where they put him in the ‘pen and did some other things with him, started. They saw some things out of him and our people saw some things out of him that they hadn’t seen before and we tried to take that and run with it. If he struggles today...that’s a hornet’s nest over there in that locker room today. I guarantee they’re not too happy. But I think he’s given himself a chance to have some success.
“I don’t look at him like the leader of some young guys. I don’t want to put that one him. If you’re constantly needing a support group, this can be a lonely place. But they band together, they talk about it. But it’s a competitive thing. Every fifth day, they’ve got to be ready to give us a chance to win. Simple as that. It’s not near the brain surgery that everybody makes it out to be. Keep us in the game. That’s easier said than done.”