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Matusz says he's not worried about decreased velocity

Orioles manager Buck Showalter certainly raised some eyebrows when following his team's 4-2 victory last night, he acknowledged that it's not a given that young starter Brian Matusz regains his velocity.

"Most guys that you get, not necessarily Brian, but they all, in their career, go down," Showalter said. "It's not a normal thing to do, put your arm over your head and jerk it down violently 100 times every fifth day. But I feel confident that he can pitch effectively the way he is, obviously.

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"We'll see. I hope so. There's two ways to look at it. The pitch-ability part of it has allowed him to defend himself through it against Seattle and Oakland. Hopefully, down the road … it's not a given, but he's shown the ability to pitch with different velocities."

Several Orioles get on me regularly because they say I'm consumed by velocity, and perhaps they have a point. However, Matusz consistently pitched in the mid- to high 80s during his first two big league starts this season -- and in his minor league rehab outings from what I'm told -- is impossible to ignore.

After all, Matusz is a 24-year-old who is expected to be one of the key cogs in the Orioles' rotation for years to come. And his velocity also dipped some last season, according to the web site fangraphs.com.

While making eight starts for the Orioles in 2009, Matusz's average fastball velocity was 91.5 mph. Last season, it dropped to 89.9, and this year, I've seen Matusz hit 90 on only a couple of occasions. The 2-0 fastball Adam Rosales crushed for a two-run homer last night clocked in at 87 mph, and the Camden Yards stadium radar gun has been known to be a little generous.

Is it just a case of Matusz needing to get a few more starts under his belt to build up more arm strength? That obviously would make sense. Matusz did not have a normal spring training as he had the wart removed, got drilled in the left arm by a come-backer and strained the left intercostal muscle a day or two before Opening Day. He's still getting on a routine and working his way into game shape.

Matusz maintains that he's not worried about his velocity.

"It will come around," he said. "It's still early for me. I'm not worried about it."

Matusz also was adamant that it's not a health issue.

"I feel good healthwise, 100 percent," he said. "Just getting that rhythm and letting the ball fly out of the hand. Right now, I'm a little bit tense and it's not coming out the way I want it to, but it's all right. I've just got to continue making pitches and getting better. I got to go out there with a free mind and not thinking about things too much and let it fly. The more outings I get, the more comfortable I'll get. I'll keep going, I'll use this as a positive outing and move forward."

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