Gonzo on his 100 ERA, being booed and why this was worse than Tommy John

Full story to come soon on Orioles.com, but here is some highlights of my interview with Michael Gonzalez, who was activated from the 60-day disabled list today….

Closer Michael Gonzalez knows he has a lot to prove to an Orioles organization that signed him to a two-year, $12-million deal this offseason, a fan base that booed him following two blown saves in three outings, and those who may be skeptical about whether he is fully healthy and ready to go.

But, first and foremost, Gonzalez -activated from the 60-day disabled list on Wednesday– is focused on proving to his teammates that he is effective, and wining back a closers’ job that is no longer his. 

“It is what it is,” Gonzalez said of interim manager Juan Samuel’s decision to ease him back and use Alfredo Simon to close for the foreseeable future.  “Whatever. I’m just glad to be back in the big leagues, I think once I show them that I’m healthy everything is going to even out.”

Gonzalez said these three months were the most trying of his career, even more so than when he had season-ending Tommy John in ’07.

“It’s how I left it [in Baltimore]. I left it with like a 100 ERA and not good at all. Not effective, definitely not what they were looking for as a team. Just for myself, for my own psyche it’s something that I’m used to going the next day and fixing.”

On being booed at the Orioles home opener…

“I’m just [glad] to be part of the team more than anything, because I know when I’m healthy what I’m capable of doing.It was hard to go out there [hurt]. Obviously you never want to get booed [at home]. But it is what it is. And I’m back here ready to do the job.”

On how he feels now…

“Stuff wise it felt a lot better [at Triple-A]. Obviously I have to work on a couple things, command issues were a lot better than when I thought they would be, velocity was good, breaking pitches had more bite than I thought they would be. I got to be on the up with this, go out there and stay with what I was going with the last couple of weeks.”

On the O’s bullpen in his absence..

“They’ve been doing a great job, but I’m not going to lie to you I haven’t been watching too many games. Obviously it frustrates me, it doesn’t get me in a good mood. Just wanting to be there so bad, it’s been three months since I’ve actually been there in a big league uniform. It’s been tough mentally, more mentally than physically. The physical part was easy, it been frustrating just being anxious and all that together just trying to hold that down a little bit.”

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