Gonzalez could be post All-Star break
BALTIMORE–While initially targeting an early July return, Orioles closer Michael Gonzalez won’t be activated for this weekend’s series in Boston and could be facing a post All-Star break return.
Gonzalez arrived in Bowie, Md. on Wednesday and will start a rehab assignment for the O’s Double-A affiliate on Friday. He is scheduled to pitch Friday, Sunday and Tuesday for the Baysox which means the earliest he could rejoin the O’s would be for the last leg of a 10-game road trip in Texas.
However, Orioles pitching coach Rick Kranitz didn’t rule out the possibility that Gonzalez wouldn’t be ready until the All-Star break, and called the lefty’s rehab program “his Spring Training.”
Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail acknowledged on Wednesday that Gonzalez is farther behind than outfielder Felix Pie, who will likely rejoin the team for Monday’s series in Detroit.
Gonzalez appeared in two games for short-season Aberdeen this week, allowing two earned runs on five hits over 2 1/3 innings, and was clocked in the 90-91 mph range. While his velocity raised concerns in the initial stages of his rehab -when he was clocked in the mid 80s – Gonzalez’s location is what has kept his hindered his recent progress.
“His command was not where we want it to be,” interim manager Juan Samuel said of Gonzalez’s outing on Tuesday night. “His breaking ball is not where we think it should be. We’re going to continue to monitor his progress.”
Gonzalez (left shoulder strain) was placed on the 15-day disabled list -later transferred to the 60-day DL – on April 10. He appeared in three games for the Orioles, pitching to a 18.00 ERA with two blown saves.