Gonzo refutes claims that his arm is hurt

FOX Sports Ken Rosenthal says a Florida scout is concerned
about the health of Orioles closer Mike
Gonzalez
, who was removed after two batters in Saturday’s “B” squad game,
and been sidelined with lower back stiffness since.

 

“He’s throwing like B.J. Ryan did (last spring) — and nothing was
wrong with him, either,” the scout says, sarcastically, referring to Ryan’s
weak performance with the Blue Jays, which led to his release last July.

 

“I’m
hoping he’s just taking it slow. But normally when a guy takes it slow and gets
into trouble, he’ll show (arm strength) to you, that it’s still there. He
hasn’t done that yet.”

I watched Gonzalez run and play catch
with setup man Jim Johnson on one of Ed Smith Stadiums back fields Tuesday
morning. The two stretched out for long toss and at one point he crouched down
in a catcher’s position to give Johnson a better target.

Gonzalez said Wednesday morning he will
go through that same workout again and if he feels OK, he will throw a bullpen
session later in the afternoon. He definitely won’t pitch in today’s game against
the Blue Jays, but has insisted the last few days that his injury is minor.

“I’ve had it before,” Gonzalez said of
his lower back pain. “So, I know what to do.”

He also reiterated that his arm in fine
and that any report otherwise isn’t true. But given his dip in velocity,
questions were raised earlier this week to manager Dave Trembley.

Trembley acknowledged that
Gonzalez’s velocity is way down, but he said the team has done its homework on
its new closer — including talking to Gonzalez’s former teams — and isn’t
alarmed.

“That’s his normal
progression during Spring Training, he will start dialing it up as we get
closer to the start of the season,” Trembley said. “There’s nothing
wrong with his arm.”

According to Rosenthal’s story, Gonzalez
is throwing 85-86 mph, which is down from his usual 92-93.

The 31-year-old Gonzalez hasn’t
been particularly impressive this spring, allowing an earned run on four hits
and two walks over two innings. He’s also struck out two and has made it clear
that his velocity won’t be at its best until the end of Spring Training.

Instead, the lefty with a herky-jerky delivery, says he is
using camp to work on using his changeup more frequently, a pitch that could be
extremely beneficial given he’s predominantly a fastball pitcher.

 The Orioles signed Gonzalez to a
two-year, $12 million free-agent contract last winter.


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