Spotlight’s on Norfolk as Matusz tosses gem

August 11, 2011 | Peter Dilutis

BALTIMORE – When Buck Showalter met with the media prior to Thursday’s game against the White Sox, the spotlight shined brighter on Norfolk than Baltimore.

In Norfolk, Brian Matusz pitched a complete game shutout. He threw 105 pitches, including 74 strikes. Matusz allowed five hits and one walk while striking out eight.

“He looked good,” said manager Buck Showalter, who told reporters that he watched a few innings of the start.

“He’s doing a lot of things and getting a little better each time out,” Showalter said. Obviously today was a good step for him. I haven’t heard from the pitching coach and manager and Brian about how they felt and everything but it looked good. Obviously it read well.”

Showalter was encouraged to see Matusz get past 100 pitches.

“It was good to see him get up there (in pitches),” Showalter said. “I think that was his second complete game in the minor leagues. I’m sure it wasn’t cool there. It was encouraging to see his stamina and being able to maintain his stuff that long.”

Buck, who has often been critical of Matusz, especially for his slow delivery to the plate with runners on base, seemed genuinely happy for Brian Matusz today.

“I think he’s really made some strides down there,” Showalter said. “I’m proud of him.”

As far a timetable, Buck wouldn’t give a definitive date or range, but he did admit that he would not be shocked if Matusz was back up to Baltimore within the next week or so. Personally, reading between the lines, I get the impression that Matusz can punch his ticket back to Baltimore with another very good start his next time out in Norfolk.

“If everybody feels like he’s ready to come back, he will,” Showalter said.”At some point, that will happen.”

For O’s fans starving for more signs of hope for the future, having vintage Brian Matusz back in Baltimore can’t come soon enough.