BALTIMORE -- When asked about his first start this season, Orioles lefty Brian Matusz didn't try to downplay the significance of Monday night.
"It's definitely a special start," said Matusz, who won a spot in the rotation with a solid spring on the heels of a 1-9 season with a 10.69 ERA. "It's been a long road this offseason, this spring, to be able to fight back to being able to make the team and then do that -- pitching the way I know how to pitch. I'm excited to go out there and just pitch the game I love to play, and just get back out there again."
Matusz called 2012 a "fresh season" and said on Sunday he doesn't waste any time dwelling on the past.
"I don't even remember last year," said Matusz, who turned in the highest single-season ERA in Major League history for a pitcher who started 10 or more games. "I've totally cleared it out of my mind, and my focus is starting with a clean slate here and to get off on a good start."
The 25-year-old Matusz went 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA this spring in six starts, allowing 10 earned runs over 24 2/3 innings and picking up 22 strikeouts with only two walks. In noticeably better shape, Matusz showcased improved velocity this spring and was able to make better in-game adjustments as a result of his physical fitness. He hopes to carry all of that over against the Yankees on Monday night.
"I've prepared really hard this spring [and] this offseason, so I'm excited to face the Yankees right out of the gate," he said.
Reynolds doesn't start Sunday's game
BALTIMORE -- Mark Reynolds was not in the Orioles' starting lineup
on Sunday afternoon, a night removed from fouling a ball off his left calf in Baltimore's 8-2 win over the Minnesota Twins.
"I'm well enough to play," Reynolds said when asked if he would be available to pinch-hit. "No, [it's not bothering me]. I'm fine."
Reynolds didn't have any wrap or ice on the area on Sunday morning. He said he didn't have an X-ray taken, but had a pretty good bruise. Manager Buck Showalter echoed Reynolds' statement that he could have played, but chose to err on the side of caution instead.
"With the DH being able to move around, we've got some interchangeable parts," said Showalter, who penciled in Wilson Betemit at third base. "It's more about getting everybody on the field the first three days. Nick [Johnson] played first base last night. I think it's important from my experience that everybody gets on the field somewhere and gets in that mix, especially before we go on the road. It has the potential to be a strength of ours that we have a lot of interchangeable parts."
Reynolds, who dropped 20 pounds this winter in hopes of improving his mobility and defensive play, struggled in the field on Saturday and was charged with his first error. He also struggled to come up with a slow roller and hasn't looked as good at third base as he did earlier this spring.
"Mark's worked really hard all spring with DeMarlo [Hale] and Bobby Dickerson and [Mike] Bordick," Showalter said of Reynolds, who was frequently out taking early work this spring. "The guys that frustrate you are the guys who don't care. Mark wants to be a contributor on both sides of the ball, so that's encouraging."
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.