What will the Orioles do with Brian Matusz?

Will he start for them, relieve or be somewhere else?

Last year, out of necessity, the Orioles converted Matusz into a left-handed specialist, and he was great at it.

After being sent to Norfolk in early July, Matusz was at a low point, but after Troy Patton was hurt and J.C. Romero faltered, the Orioles quickly converted him to a reliever. He allowed just two runs in 13 1/3 innings.

"It's been a good productive off-season so far," Matusz said.

Matusz and the Orioles agreed to a one-year, $1.6 million contract last week without going to arbitration.

"It's nice to have that done and out of the way and prepare for spring and get this thing going," Matusz said.

"I'm going into this spring with the opportunity to be a starter. I've been a starter my whole life until last year. I'd like to go out and fight and try to earn a spot in the starting rotation."

Matusz lost five games in a row as a starter, and faces stiff competition to try and get back in the rotation. The Orioles want him to pitch starter's innings in spring training.

He'll be 26 the day before spring training begins, and less than five years ago, Matusz was the fourth pick in the draft. The investment the Orioles have in Matusz and his youth may make both reluctant to consign him to the bullpen.

"Being 25, being young still, I'd like to have the opportunity to still be a starter. I've had my ups and I've had my downs, and for me, it's just a matter of being consistent. I'd like to able to do that in a starting role this season," Matusz said.