He was the Orioles' first-round draft pick in 2008, and for a while, it looked like Brian Matusz would be a fixture in the team's rotation. But for now, he finds himself pitching out of the bullpen.
If the Orioles decide to make a bullpen role more permanent for Matusz, how would the 25-year-old lefty feel about that?
"You know, right now my focus is just on now and this season," he said. "We're in a special spot right now, fighting for the playoffs. My focus is just to help the team now and worry about that later.
"It's great to be able to go out there and contribute. These first two outings have been good. Look forward to staying consistent and continuing to help the team and pitch well."
Matusz pitched back-to-back scoreless innings out of the bullpen for Triple-A Norfolk last Tuesday and Wednesday and now he's made two scoreless outings for the Orioles. He's pitched 2 1/3 innings in those games, allowing just one hit with no walks and three strikeouts.
"Once you get out there on the mound, it's still the same game," he said. "I get loose pretty quick, so the adjustment has been smooth so far."
Matusz said he's been focusing on going right after the hitters from the first pitch when coming out of the 'pen.
"Yeah, so far. I've been able to come out and attack right out of the gates," he said. "That's been my mindset, to throw strikes and right now being the only lefty in the 'pen, there is a chance I can be in there every day."
Does Matusz like pitching in this role better than he thought he would?
"I like to pitch in the big leagues and help the team," he said. "It's definitely a different role and has been an adjustment. I like having to be ready every day and knowing there is a possibility of getting into the game. Get the adrenaline running every game. Right now I'm just excited about keeping this going.
"It's definitely a different mindset, having to be ready every day. There's a strict routine every day in how you prepare for the game. But I'm starting to get used to it now. I like being ready every day. It's a fun and exciting new role."