After a year in the 'pen, Matusz wants to start

After a year in the 'pen, Matusz wants to start
August 25, 2013, 2:45 pm
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altimore Orioles starting pitcher Brian Matusz (17)

(Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)

BALTIMORE – Brian Matusz has just completed his first year as a reliever for the Orioles. He’s hoping there’s not a second year.

Matusz was converted to a reliever in Aug. 2012, and did very well in the final weeks of last season. This year, he’s 2-1 with a 3.30 ERA and he’s stranded all but three of the 46 runners he’s inherited.

He says that his year has been a successful one.

“The year’s not over. We’ve got a lot of work to do coming down this month with the playoff push and the playoffs. That’s the most important time of the year. It’s too early to evaluate that, but day-in and day-out, I’ve gone out to contribute as much as I can to help this team win ballgames. In my eyes, it’s a good year, being able to do my job in the role that I’ve been put in,” Matusz said.

The Orioles have invested a lot in the 26-year-old left-hander, who was the fourth overall pick in the 2008 draft. After a horrible 2011 season, Matusz began last year as a starter, but halfway through the season was sent down.

Matusz was put in the bullpen because of necessity, but would like to start once again.

“Hopefully. I would like to be given a chance to earn a spot, but my focus right now to win ballgames and make the postseason. That’s something that will be discussed at the end of the season, but ultimately, I’d like to be able to start at some point,” Matusz said.

Manager Buck Showalter refused to rule out a different role in the future.

“Still possibly has a future as a starter,” Showalter said.

“He and Zach [Britton] are both out of options next spring. That’s way down the road. I’m not dwelling on that. I’m hoping their career takes the same path as the last starter we had in the spring this year that was out of options, [Chris] Tillman.”

It’s natural for relievers to want to start. There’s more money in the rotation.

I know what he wants to do. I know what Tommy [Hunter] wants to do,” Showalter said.