When left-hander Brian Matusz first learned he was headed to the disabled list with an intercostal muscle strain in early April, he refused to speculate on a timetable for his return.

Now that he seems to be getting at least a little closer to getting onto a mound, Matusz is still avoiding the temptation to pick a target date to pitch in a big league game.

"I get so excited. I just want to get out there, and I've just got to be able to take it day by day," he said. "I can't start planning things out saying, 'Oh, this is the day I want to be on the mound,' or 'This is when I want to be in a game,' because every day is different. Right now, I feel good."

After spending about two weeks rehabilitating in Sarasota, Fla., Matusz flew back to Baltimore to be with his club until at least the end of this homestand Thursday. He will throw from 120 feet Friday, likely will throw again Sunday and then be re-evaluated. The organization will decide whether he will continue his rehab on the road with the team, go back to Sarasota or begin a minor league rehab stint.

"Just staying positive about the whole situation," Matusz said. "I want to get out there as soon as I can, as fast as possible. But at the same time, I don't want to take any steps backwards."

Matusz had a slight setback about a week ago when he felt slight discomfort after throwing on flat ground on two consecutive days. He rested briefly, resumed throwing and has proclaimed himself pain-free.

"I had thrown two days in a row, and I went to throw a third day and it just didn't feel comfortable. It wasn't hurting or anything. I just felt discomfort," he said. "At that point, we took a couple more days off for precautionary reasons, but the last three days have been very good."

Matusz was limited this spring because of surgery to remove a wart from his left middle finger and an incident in a simulated game in which he was hit on the biceps with a liner. He said those instances shouldn't affect how long he needs to pitch in the minors before coming off the DL.