BALTIMORE -- Brian Matusz was very happy after his 35-pitch side session before Thursday's game with the Red Sox, saying it was "a big step forward."
The left-hander, who has been out since the start of the season with a strained left intercostal muscle, said he threw two-seam and four-seam fastballs, plus some changeups and curveballs, and everything went nicely. He also threw from the windup and stretch positions with no pain.
"I felt really good," he said. "I felt like I got stronger as I kept going."
The news also made manager Buck Showalter feel good.
"So far, so good," Showalter said. "So I'm glad he feels like he feels good."
Matusz, who will now report to the club's Spring Training complex in Sarasota, Fla., said the toughest thing about missing the first month of the season is that he's had to really just sit and watch his teammates.
"It's been tough this whole time," he said. "This whole process hasn't been easy. It's frustrating. It's not a lot of fun."
Hardy making progress after injuring oblique
BALTIMORE -- Manager Buck Showalter said shortstop J.J. Hardy did a lot of good work during his rehab stint at extended Spring Training on Thursday.
Hardy has been on the disabled list since April 10 with a strained left oblique after getting off to a good start with the Orioles.
Showalter said that Hardy took 15 dry swings and 25 off the tee with no problems. In addition, the shortstop played catch from 120 feet and ran sprints.
Hardy will take ground balls and progress into front-flips on Friday.
"Hardy had a good day today," Showalter said. "[He] felt much better today."
Hardy played in only six games before the injury and was hitting .200, but he had reached base frequently and helped turn the lineup over several times from the No. 9 spot.
"J.J. was playing real well when he got hurt, so I think he kind of was under the radar screen maybe for some people, but not us," Showalter said. "So we look forward to getting him back healthy for the rest of the year."
Jakubauskas ready to begin rehab assignment
BALTIMORE -- Right-hander Chris Jakubauskas will be joining Triple-A Norfolk this weekend on a rehab assignment.
He's been on the disabled list (right groin strain) since April 17, but Jakubauskas is going with Norfolk to Louisville on Saturday and is scheduled to pitch two to three innings Sunday.
Jakubauskas, who is eligible to be activated Monday, is 0-0 with a 7.36 ERA in three games this season.
Gregg starting to find rhythm after slow start
BALTIMORE -- Orioles closer Kevin Gregg seems to be settling in a groove, and that's something which could be unsettling to opponents.
The right-hander recorded saves in the first two games of the Red Sox series, and in three of his last four appearances.
"I never felt bad, I just never felt in a rhythm," said Gregg. "It's the end of April, [and I'm] just getting in the swing of things."
Gregg is 0-0, but he has the four saves and his ERA is down to 3.00 after it hit 5.40 on April 18.
"I like getting out there," Gregg said. "The more I get out there, the better I feel."
Catcher Matt Wieters entered Thursday's game 7-for-8 with runners in scoring position this season, which includes 11 RBIs. ... Nick Markakis threw out David Ortiz at home in Wednesday's game, and the Orioles' right fielder now has three assists this season. ... The Orioles have struggled in the final games of series so far this year, losing their last five. ... Wieters also has done well defensively, having thrown out an American League-leading 40 percent (four of 10) runners trying to steal.
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.