“I Wasn’t Mentally Prepared”

Matusz appears to be graduating from 'easygoing frat boy' status (pictured here) to 'mature young man' status.

That’s Brian Matusz, folks.

Matusz told Jeff Zrebiec over the phone recently that he wasn’t truly ready mentally going into the 2011 season and that the injury he suffered in Spring Training only served to make him even worse.

“Obviously, coming in not prepared is pretty clear to everyone. It wasn’t necessarily that I wasn’t physically prepared, but I wasn’t mentally prepared. I was working with two pitching coaches that I didn’t know and they wanted to change things I’ve done for my whole life. Rick Adair and Mark Connor had great intentions of helping us young guys get better. That was the goal, that was the plan. Mentally, I wasn’t prepared to make that happen. Right now, I’m trying to find myself, getting back to what has made me successful through my entire life.”

When asked about these mechanical changes, Buck Showalter defended them:

“It’s all a learning experience and not many people come here at first and immediately produce. Brian has the ability to be a good pitcher here and everyone is trying to figure that out. Generally, if coaches see something that is going to be a challenge for somebody going forward, they try to fix it, and you listen to people who have a long track record of success in the big leagues.”

If anything, this makes it sound like Matusz is going through a year of adjustments and will be able to come back and be a solid pitcher once again as soon as he, well, adjusts to the adjustments. He’ll be back. Showalter believes he’ll be back. Matusz himself believes so, too. Based on what he told Zrebiec, he might just have grown up a little bit over the course of this year.

“It’s the toughest year of my life so far. From the get go in spring training, things didn’t seem to fall my way. Having the wart removed, getting the liner off my arm, and then the [intercostal] strain. Failure is not something that I’ve experienced in the past. It hasn’t happened for me. All the Orioles fans, teammates, coaches, they had high expectations for me and not being able to follow through on it has been tough. I don’t feel good about it, but what’s happened in the past is not something I can do anything about. I feel better every day I go out there. I know the numbers haven’t showed it in the box score, but I know that I’m on the right track, the right routine. It will come back. Things like that just don’t go away.”

For more on Matusz, check out this audio interview he did with Brett Hollander.

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