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Orioles, Brian Matusz nearing deal

Baltimore is close to avoiding arbitration with another member of their pitching staff.

Greg Fiume

The Baltimore Orioles locked up a key piece of their 2012 pitching staff yesterday, avoiding arbitration with right-hander Tommy Hunter.

Now the O’s are closing in on a deal with the other "failed starter turned successful bullpen arm" on their roster, southpaw Brian Matusz, reports Dan Connelly of the Baltimore Sun:

Once thought to be one of the best young arms in baseball -- rated the No. 5 by Baseball America in 2010 -- the 25-year-old Matusz has never been able to translate his stellar minor-league numbers as a starter to the big leagues. After a disastrous 2011, the left-hander struggled out of the gate again in 2012 and was demoted to Triple-A.

Moved to the bullpen full-time upon his return to Baltimore in August, Matusz excelled. The southpaw posted a 1.35 ERA and struck out 19 in 13⅓ innings down the stretch for the O's, helping push the club into the playoffs.

Matusz will likely continue in a bullpen role for the Orioles for the time being, but could get pushed back into the rotation if needed.