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Matusz talks about his injury rehab; Orioles and Twins lineups

Brian Matusz, whose enthusiasm for being in the big leagues doesn't seem to wane, said he was excited to be back in the Orioles clubhouse and to be closer to a return to the team.

When that is going to be, however, is still in the discussion mode.

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"[I'm] Just staying positive about the whole situation. I want to get out there as soon as I can, as fast as possible," Matusz said. "But at the same time, I don't want to take any steps backwards."

Matusz has been on the disabled list since the season began with a strain of an intercostal muscle in his back. He had been playing catch but felt some discomfort several days ago and was told to rest briefly. He's back to throwing now and said he is pain-free.

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"I feel really good. I played catch three days in a row now, and I feel like I am on track. I really held back … where I had thrown two days in a row and I went to throw the third day and it just didn't feel comfortable. It wasn't hurting or anything, I just felt discomfort," Matusz said. "At that point, we took a couple more days off for precautionary reasons, and the last three days have been really good."

He will throw from 120 feet Friday, will throw again Sunday and then be re-evaluated. He's not sure when he'll be able to get on a mound or when he'll be able to face live competition. He'll stay with the club until the homestand ends next Thursday. Then the organization will decide whether he will continue his rehab on the road with the team, go back to Sarasota, Fla., or begin a minor league rehab stint.

He would prefer going on a rehab assignment soon, but that's not his decision.

"I get so excited, I just want to get out there and I've just got to be able to take it day by day, and that's all we can do," he said. "I can't start planning things out saying, oh, this is the day I want to be on the mound or this is when I want to be in a game, because every day is different."

His pitching this spring was limited because of surgery to remove a wart from his left hand and an incident in a simulated game in which he was hit on the arm with a liner. He said those setbacks shouldn't affect how long he needs to pitch in the minors before coming off the DL.

"I don't think that's the case because I was built up, I was ready to go for that first start in Tampa. I know there were a couple setbacks with the line drive and the wart and things like that," he said. "But when it comes down to it, I was still on my regular routine, getting my bullpen sessions in and throwing every day and built up to a good point. I am not sure how that is going to change me coming back now, but I don't think it's going to be as long as it would have been if I didn't build myself up in the spring."

Here are the lineups for tonight's game against the Twins. Notice Justin Morneau (flu symptoms) and Delmon Young (rib soreness) are not in the lineup again. Morneau had a setback on Wednesday and was left in the hotel Thursday to try and recuperate. The Twins are also without Joe Mauer (bilateral leg weakness) and Tsuyoshi Nishioka (broken leg).

Twins: Span CF, Casilla SS, Kubel RF, Cuddyer 1B, Thome DH, Valencia 3B, Hughes 2B, Butera C, Repko LF. Baker P.

Orioles: Roberts 2B, Markakis RF, Lee 1B, Guerrero DH, Scott LF, Jones CF, Reynolds 3B, Wieters C, Andino SS. Guthrie P.

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