Brian Matusz sounds upbeat about the time he is spending with the Triple-A Norfolk Tides. He seems confident that his velocity will come back and remains convinced that he is a big part of the Orioles' future.
Those were some of the impressions I got from an interview Matusz gave on 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore last night. Matusz was a guest on the "Baltimore Baseball Tonight" pregame show with Bob Haynie, Jen Royle and Joe Orsulak.
"It's been a tough year," Matusz said. "Going into this spring we had new pitching coaches and things were just different. For me, I probably was slightly unprepared coming into spring training and as a result, an injury came about.
"Bouncing back from that was one of the hardest things I ever had to deal with. Just need to play the game and have fun again. It's been a great experience here in Norfolk to have fun and just get back to my normal self.
"I've just been able to work out some things I needed to. Getting back to my old mechanics and old work ethic and just doing the right things. I've been able to get a lot more comfortable on the mound and been able to ground myself a bit, go back to reality (and) remember how things were in the minor leagues coming up through the system."
Matusz went 1-4 with an 8.77 ERA in six starts with the Orioles, giving up 14 runs in his last two starts. He is 0-3 with a 4.73 ERA in five starts with Norfolk and is scheduled to pitch for the Tides tonight.
He is confident he will get his fastball back.
"I know a lot of the fans and critics are always talking about the velocity," Matusz said. "That is one of the last things on my mind. I know that is going to eventually come back. It's just a matter of me sticking to a strict routine and getting my mechanics to where it's right, to where I don't have to think about it and it's not in my head mentally.
"Also one thing, my weight has been a little bit down. I'm down to about 192 pounds now and whereas last year I pitched at 200 pounds. I need to keep up on my eating schedule and my eating routine to keep that strength and body weight up."
Matusz is working with Tides pitching coach Mike Griffin in Norfolk.
"Working with him has really been awesome. He's been through the experiences of being sent up and down through the minors and big leagues. He knows what it takes to get back on track. He relates to the young guys really well and we have fun out here," Matusz said.
Matusz ended his interview on the Fan sounding upbeat about the future.
"Every player goes through failure and it's part of the game. Speaking for myself, my time is now. It's important to learn from the failures and not let it happen again. We've all had success at the big league level (the young pitchers) and that doesn't go away. We will be back to help turn this team and organization around," he said.
You can listen to the interview with Matusz on 105.7 The Fan from last night by clicking here.