Matusz gets set to take the next step in Sarasota

Brian Matusz said he is optimistic about his rehab process, which will continue starting tomorrow at the Orioles' spring home in Sarasota, Fla.

Matusz went on the disabled list April 3, retroactive to March 30, with a strained left intercostal muscle.

He said he has not had any pain for the last four days, yet he has not yet been cleared to throw or even play catch. Matusz is not sure when he might get back with the team and take the mound again.

"I honestly don't know," he said. "I just want to take it day by day. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. I should hopefully come back faster than if I had a shoulder or elbow problem.

"Just continue doing the same treatment work I've been doing. Shoulder exercises and all that stuff and get back on my workout routine. Once I get the OK to start playing catch, we'll get back on that system. Pretty much have to go day by day to see how I feel, but this is the fourth day in a row that I haven't felt pain, so starting to get to that point where I want to be.

"I'm just easing my way back in, too. Because I don't feel pain now, but you don't want to push it too far to where you do."

The uncertainty of what the next few days will hold has to be somewhat unsettling for the lefty. He has not thrown a ball since before the injury, but he remains pretty upbeat.

"I've never gone through this before so I don't know exactly how you go about it," Matusz said. "It's a learning experience for me, too: How to be able to bounce back from an injury because it will happen to everyone in their career. I'm just doing as much as I can without pushing it too hard. Right now, I'm feeling pretty optimistic about the whole situation."

Matusz said he is trying to keep himself from rushing back, but also knows he's been missing out on some fun during the team's 6-2 start. He can't wait to take the next step.

"I have wanted to play catch so bad the last few days," he said. "But that will be a challenge, although I don't know if it will be harder than watching these last five games here at home."

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