Matusz would prefer to start, but role still up in the air

The Orioles have indicated they are not yet certain whether Brian Matusz will pitch as a starter or a reliever this year. But if Matusz has any say in it, he made clear today what he favors.

“I’m going in this spring with an opportunity to be a starter,” he said. “I’ve been a starter my whole life until last year. I want to go out and fight and try to earn a spot in the rotation.”

He knows how much success he had as a lefty reliever late last year but he wants to carry that back into a role in the rotation.

“Just having success, whether as a starter or reliever, it was nice to finish the year the way I did,” he said. “For me, whether it’s starting or relieving, you want to throw the ball well. But right now, my focus is to make the rotation out of spring and that’s the only thing on my mind.

“It was a big difference to have to be ready to go every single day. In some ways, that helped me find a groove. Just throwing out of the stretch allowed me to get into a good rhythm and I hope to carry that over now to starting.”

I asked pitching coach Rick Adair what factors in spring will determine Matusz’s role in 2013.

“To be real honest, I’m not sure yet,” Adair said. “We know what he did as a starter. When he struggled there, sometimes it would be in the fourth, fifth or sixth. He pitched out of the ‘pen the way he did as a starter. We feel good about where he is.”

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