04/14/12 5:32 PM ET
Reynolds to take on any role Orioles need
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
Reynolds has struggled in the early part of the season, committing two errors in five games at third base, and he entered Saturday's game -- his second start at designated hitter -- batting .143 with no homers and two RBIs. While he is typically a slow starter at the plate -- he had similar struggles last April -- Reynolds' defense has been a sore spot, particularly given all the work he put into strengthening that part of his game this offseason.
Showalter said Friday that Reynolds could start to be used in different spots, including first base, and Reynolds took some ground balls there during Saturday's batting practice. He is unsure what the plan is, but Reynolds said he came forward and initiated the talk with Showalter because he wanted him to know he was on board.
"I told him that we have a good group of guys, a good team, and I told him whatever I can do to help this team win is what I'm all about," Reynolds said. "I don't want him to feel obligated to put me somewhere he doesn't think it's either best for me or best for the team or best for everybody to succeed."
"However we choose to use him, he's in," Showalter said. "So it's good to hear."
Wilson Betemit got his second consecutive start at third on Saturday, fresh off a go-ahead two-out RBI double in the eighth inning of Friday's win. While Showalter is well aware how it's being perceived by not penciling Reynolds back in at third, he said Saturday's it's about what lineup he thinks is best for the Orioles.
"It's just, 'OK, what's the best way for us to win a baseball game?" Showalter said. "They are all going to contribute in some form or fashion in a series or in a week or what have you. It bodes well for our morale if we can keep [Reynolds] in the presentation we make to win baseball games. We have to keep that mentality."
Reynolds, who reminded reporters that he played the outfield when he first came up with Arizona and has two career games at second base, said the last few games won't change his work ethic or mindset.
"I'll keep working everywhere, be ready to go wherever [Showalter] puts me," Reynolds said. "It's good that we don't have a set DH this year; we got a lot of guys that can play a lot of positions. So I'm sure he's going to rotate that a lot and put guys in positions where he feels they have the best chance to succeed."
Location important for Matusz in second start
TORONTO -- Orioles lefty Brian Matusz admitted Saturday he got caught up in the moment a little bit in Monday's debut and was "trying to blow guys away" with his fastball rather than pitch his game. So the emphasis heading into his second start of the season on Sunday against the Blue Jays is for the 25-year-old Matusz to do what he does best: locate.
"It's just being able to stay calm, get those nerves down and go out with confidence and attack the zone and try not to do too much," Matusz said. "In that Yankees game [on Monday], I was just trying to throw it by guys, [trying to] do a little bit more than I had in Spring Training. So for me, it's just settling in and making the pitches."
Matusz lasted just four innings in his first start of the season, allowing four runs on six hits and four walks, and he's looking to put that outing behind him as well as reverse the trend when it comes to Toronto. In three career starts against the Blue Jays, Matusz is 0-2 with a 18.56 ERA. He has not completed three innings in any of those starts, although one of them was injury-shortened, skewing some of the stats.
"I remember the second start of my career was against Toronto here against Roy Halladay," Matusz said of his only career start at Rogers Centre on August 9, 2009. "That other start I had against Toronto, I was hit by a line drive in the first inning, came out of the game. But that's the goal -- to go deep in the game and take it inning by inning."
What Matusz has taken from each outing this year, Spring Training included, is his physical strength, which is much improved over last season and has kept him from tiring on the hill. His velocity has been steady since he reported to camp, and Matusz's fastball was still clocked at a steady 92 mph during his final inning Monday.
"It definitely helps out a lot, not having to try to do too much because of that strength," he said. "Even that last game against the Yankees, I threw 96 pitches and wasn't even sore the next day. Physically, I felt good, and that definitely helps."
Pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada (left elbow discomfort) pitched against the Tampa Bay Rays in extended spring training on Saturday, going six innings and allowing two hits, five walks and striking out seven. He didn't allow any runs in the 100-pitch outing, and the team is leaning toward Wada starting for Triple-A Norfolk, which will be in Gwinnett on Thursday. The thinking is it's a day game and it's also warm weather down there. Wada could be activated after that or make another rehab start.
Zach Britton (left shoulder impingement) has had a ball in his hands and played catch for the last three days down in extended spring training with no pain.
Catcher Matt Wieters is scheduled to get his first game off this season in Sunday's series finale in Toronto.
Ryan Flaherty is slated to get his first career Major League start on Sunday. Manager Buck Showalter said he hasn't decided where the versatile Flaherty, a Rule 5 Draft pick, will play, and he had at least two options in mind.
Kevin Gregg worked two innings on Wednesday to mark his longest outing since August 11, 2009. The outing snapped a streak of 144 appearances of fewer than two innings pitched by the right-hander.
The Orioles' seven runs on Friday was just the second time in their last 24 games at Rogers Centre where they scored more than five. It was also the first time this season the O's have scored in the eighth and ninth innings.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.