Orioles Rule 5 pick Jason Garcia realizes he needs to make an early impression on the organization. So when the 22-year-old threw his first spring training bullpen session Saturday, he didn't hold back.
"It's tough but for me, it's a little different trying to make the team," Garcia said. "I'm trying to work my way into things and trying to hold myself back is pretty tough, especially on days like yesterday when nerves were going and everything."
Garcia, who was the fourth pick in the Rule 5 draft by the Astros and was immediately dealt to the Orioles, drew raves during last month's minicamp with his high-90s fastball and smooth delivery following Tommy John surgery in 2013.
That was his introduction to the team's major league staff, but on Saturday, several coaches and veteran pitchers watched Garcia throw his 32-pitch bullpen.
"To be honest, it wasn't really much until I kind of got on the mound and realized how many people there were," Garcia said. "It was pretty exciting, but I was pretty nervous out there."
Garcia said he prepared himself for the season earlier than in past years knowing that he must make the major league roster as a Rule 5 pick.
"For the most part, games are just right around the corner," Garcia said. "Normally, in bullpens leading up to games, I like to let it go so it's not too bad. … I felt like minicamp-wise, I felt like I kind of got ready quicker than normal because big league camp is earlier. But I feel like I'm pretty game ready.
"It's not like if spring doesn't go well, I'll go to Double-A or Triple-A," he said. "I have to kind of feel the pressure a little."
-- Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Saturday that left-hander Brian Matusz will be stretched out this spring, partially to allow him to work on his changeup.
Even though he only logged six innings in Grapefruit League games last season, Matusz also threw several games on the back fields, so he logged as many innings as most starters.
"With the way it worked out with the weather, there were a couple rainouts and I ended up throwing a couple games on the back field that don't show up in the scorecard as innings," Matusz said. "But yeah, this is my seventh year in camp, in professional baseball, and every year I've started. I guess it's just continuing the trend of starting and throwing innings. I guess the only way to work on a pitch is to throw it more."
-- The following pitchers will throw bullpens this morning: Ubaldo Jimenez, Darren O'Day, Bud Norris, Tommy Hunter, Chris Tillman, Ryan Webb, Miguel Gonzalez, Zach Britton, Brad Brach, T.J. McFarland, Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Mark Hendrickson.