ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - I promised you one more quote from Brian Matusz, and I won't go back on my word.
"It's not hard for me to pump myself up and get excited," he said. "I am excited. I've been excited for a while. It's been tough these last few weeks, being in Sarasota, going out there and feeling good every day. It's been tough because I feel good, I feel healthy, I feel strong, and I want to get out there, but I realize this is my spring training process to get myself ready, so I've got to be able to calm it down a little bit and not get too ahead of myself. I think Buck (Showalter) is taking the same approach on that, which is important.
"This is a process to get myself back ready. Obviously, I want to get back out there a soon as possible, but you've got to be ready, you've got to able to make sure you took all the proper steps to get there so that there's no regrets in the future, if that makes sense."
Matusz will pitch Monday night at Single-A Frederick. We were told initially that he would likely join Triple-A Norfolk for a May 21 start, but Double-A Bowie also is home that night. Showalter said the weather could be the determining factor on where Matusz is assigned.
Justin Duchscherer threw 26 pitches, 23 for strikes, in two innings today at extended spring training and didn't report any discomfort in his back or hip. He'll be stretched to three innings in his next outing.
As for the lineup, Showalter wanted to rest Vladimir Guerrero after another extra-inning game last night and an early-morning arrival into Tampa. Also, Felix Pie is 2-for-3 with three RBIs against Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson. Luke Scott is 2-for-6. Guerrero is 0-for-2, also a small sample size.
Pie is starting in left field and Scott is serving as the designated hitter.