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Matusz starting to get the feel for relief pitching

Matusz starting to get the feel for relief pitching

Matusz starting to get the feel for relief pitching
BALTIMORE -- Asked if he liked pitching in relief more than he thought he would, lefty Brian Matusz was pretty clear.

"I like to pitch in the big leagues and help the team win," said Matusz, a converted starter recalled after seven weeks with Triple-A Norfolk. "It's definitely a different role. It's been an adjustment. But so far, I like having to be ready every day and knowing I have the possibility of being in every game."

Matusz had made two appearances prior to Wednesday's game against the White Sox since being promoted on Aug. 24 and the Orioles -- who had him make a handful of relief appearances for Norfolk first -- were hopeful that the 25-year-old's numbers against left-handed hitters would translate in the bullpen.

And while it's been a small sample size, the experiment is looking good so far. Matusz struck out the only batter he faced last Friday and tossed two scoreless innings following Chris Tillman on Tuesday night.

"In my first two appearances, I've been able to come out and just attack right out of the gates," said Matusz, who threw 19 of 24 pitches for strikes in his last outing. "That's kind of been my mindset -- to throw strikes and attack guys. Right now, being the only lefty in the 'pen, there's an opportunity I could be in there every day. So, obviously, throwing less pitches and being fresh is key."

The Orioles have made it no secret that they would like another lefty in the bullpen, and veteran Randy Wolf -- who is expected to sign with the team in the few days -- could be a possibility, as well as Triple-A reliever Zach Phillips.

"I'm glad [Matusz is] off to a good start with it," manager Buck Showalter said of the role. "Because it's a weapon and a piece we are going to need in September."

What about beyond that? Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquettte has said the organization still views Matusz as a starter long term.

When asked about his future, the lefty said he's not focused on anything but this year.

"We are in a special spot right now, fighting for the playoffs," Matusz said. "And my focus is just to contribute and help the team any way I can. And worry about that later."

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