SARASOTA, Fla -- We'll have a late start today because the Orioles' first full squad workout doesn't begin until noon. That's because most of the position players have to take their physicals beforehand.
I wrote a story for today's Sun about left-hander Brian Matusz, who spoke to the media for the first time yesterday. He seems upbeat and positive about putting last year's disastrous season behind him, which is a good thing.
But from talking to special assistant Brady Anderson and Orioles pitching coach Rick Adair, they seem to think that Matusz has turned the corner with the way he's focused on conditioning. That has to be good news for Orioles fans, because if the Orioles are going to compete in the AL East, they need a guy like Matusz to come through.
Talking to Orioles manager Buck Showalter this offseason shortly after the Jeremy Guthrie trade, he made a point about how important it is for the Orioles to truly develop a No. 1 starter through the farm system instead of getting one on the free-agent market.
And as much as fans wanted the Orioles to go after some of the big-name pitchers in the offseason, it's true. That's how Tampa Bay did it. When you look at their current arms -- James Shields, David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis -- they are all products of the Rays' farm system.
Some, like Price and Niemann, were labeled can't-miss first-rounders. But other guys, like Shields, Hellickson and Moore, weren't very high draft picks. They were groomed. Moore, for example, was an eighth-rounder and is now the top prospect in baseball.
Regardless, you've got to hit on the first-rounders. It's way early, but the Orioles feel like they have a future front-line starter in Dylan Bundy. But he might not be in Baltimore until 2014. If Matusz, the No. 4 overall pick in 2008, can rebound, it would be huge.
A couple of things we will follow today:
-- Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts will be with the team for the club's first full workout today (we wrote about it in today's notebook). We still don't know what he will do, but if he participates in any of the full-squad workout activities, it would be huge. Roberts has been very limited in his return from concussion symptoms -- hitting off a tee, playing catch and light lifting. We'll keep a close eye on it.
-- Something that developed last night: The Orioles went on a team field trip last night. The players returned to the Ed Smith facility in the evening and boarded buses for a local movie theater. It appears that this was similar to a team-bonding activity Showalter organized before the first full-squad workout last year, when he showed the team a 12-minute custom-made video that included individual highlights of the players and included other motivational footage, such as clips from past Orioles bench-clearing brawls.
-- Also, right-hander Jason Berken injured his hamstring during conditioning drills yesterday. We'll see how serious that injury is.