Results tagged ‘ Mike Gonzalez ’

PHILLIES- ORIOLES Lineups and news

A few quick notes from today…

Mike Gonzalez said he felt good after tossing 8 pitches (5 for strikes) in the sixth inning of the Orioles Triple-A game against the Red Sox this afternoon. Gonzalez, who has been sidelined since Saturday with lower back stiffness, said the plan is to pitch another inning on Sunday.

Brian Roberts did some swinging right-handed yesterday, doing flips and tee work, according to manager Dave Trembley. Roberts told the media today that he would try to do more today and will have a better idea how his back is responding to the epidural in 3-4 days. He was cleared yesterday by Dr. Lee Riley to participate in baseball-related activities.

Koji Uehara is day-to-day with a left hamstring strain. Both Andy MacPhaili and Trembley said they aren’t concerned yet, but there’s not a lot of details yet. It isn’t the same spot as his previous injuries, but it’s still a left hamstring issue, so Koji says, “it’s always a concern.”  He wasn’t sure when he would get back on the mound, but was planning on playing light catch tomorrow.

Felix Pie is still a go to play on Saturday.

The Orioles also sent Wilfrido Perez to Double-A Bowie prior to Thursday’s game. The lefty didn’t allow a hit or a run over 3 1/3 scoreless innings this spring, and Trembley said it was time for Perez to get some more innings.

“He’s right on track to start pitching,” Trembley said.  “A guy coming off arm surgery,
he’s done very well. Left-handed, has a lot of value and is important to
us. Needs to go pitch. Has two things going for him: He can throw the
breaking ball and he can throw the changeup. Needs more experience,
needs to pitch.”

And here are the lineups from Bright House Field, which is my favorite stadium in Florida..  

 
ORIOLES LINEUP

Robert Andino SS
Ty Wigginton 2B
Nolan Reimold DH
Luke Scott LF
Garrett Atkins 1B
Lou Montanez RF
Josh Bell 3B
Chad Moeller C
Jeff Salazar CF
Brian Matusz LHP

 
PHILLIES LINEUP
Jimmy Rollins SS
Shane Victorino CF
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
Raul Ibanez LF
Jayson Werth RF
Greg Dobbs 3B
Brian Schneider C
Kyle Kendrick RHP 

Tatum, Koji injured in game

It was quite a 5th inning for the Orioles with Craig Tatum
suffering a left index finger contusion and Koji Uehara leaving with a left
hamstring strain, all within a span of eight pitches. The full story’s up here.

If Koji is sidelined for a significant
amount of time, it could have an effect on the Orioles bullpen competition.

I should have more of a report on Koji on Friday afternoon. Mike Gonzalez is pitching one inning in the Orioles Minor League game at Ed Smith Stadium, which is slated to start at 12:30 pm ET. So, I’ll be in Sarasota for a few hours before heading to the O’s-Phillies game in Clearwater. If you’re curious those Minor League games are free and open to the public. For a complete schedule you can check Orioles.com under press releases. 

Gonzo, Pie a go

Closer Mike Gonzalez came out of his warmup throws feeling good and tossed a bullpen session on Wednesday morning. Manager Dave Trembley said he was “encouraged” by the news of Gonzalez and outfielder Felix Pie, and the plan now is to have Gonzalez throw one-inning in Friday’s contest in Clearwater.

Pie threw and hit today and will play on Saturday afternoon. Trembley said he would have played Pie on Friday, but because it’s a night game, he opted to hold off for another day.

Pie hasn’t seen game action since Wednesday and has been dealing with a minor case of tendinitis in his left shoulder. Gonzalez has been slowed with lower back tightness and hasn’t pitched since Saturday’s “B” game. He was pulled after facing two batters in that contest and today’s side session was the closest he’s been to game-action since.

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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Gonzalez, Pie Updates

Mike Gonzalez,
who has been slowed by some lower back tightness, played catch today for about
15 minutes with setup man Jim Johnson.
They did some long toss  on one of the back fields at Ed Smith Stadium and Gonzalez even crouched down to give Johnson a
target at one point. He also ran sprints and appears to be moving well.

Gonzalez was optimistic about throwing in Wednesday’s game,
which would be his first game situation since being pulled early from Saturday’s
intrasquad game. Gonzalez faced just two batters before he exited with back
stiffness.

Felix Pie, who
hasn’t played in a game since Wednesday, threw the baseball today and also did
some running. He may have hit, but I didn’t get a chance to see that because I
was watching Kevin Millwood’s start.
He told me this morning he was going to throw and swing the bat, so I’ll
confirm that tomorrow.

Pie has a minor case of left shoulder tendinitis, an injury
that occurred mostly as a result of his weight room work.

******

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Gonzalez's back

Closer Mike Gonzalez recorded two outs in yesterday’s game “B” game and exited with lower back stiffness. Gonzalez said he’s going to take it easy today and rest, and was pretty optimistic about the whole thing. Given the myriad of injuries he’s had in his career, I guess back stiffness ranks pretty low.

“It’s only Spring Training, so no big deal,” he said.

Still, Gonzalez hasn’t looked good in his first few outings this spring. He’s allowed an earned run over four hits over two frames with two walks and two strikeouts. He told me he won’t be pitching in the games in Fort Myers, so the soonest day to see him on the mound again would be Wednesday.

Signed to two-year deal in the offseason, Gonzalez underwent Tommy John
surgery on his left elbow in 2007 and missed most of ’08. Last season in Atlanta,
he set career highs in appearances (80), innings pitched (74 1/3) and
strikeouts (90) and has held opposing hitters to a career .209 batting
average. He also underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery while still a Pirates prospect in 2000.

Roberts, Millwood & Other Musings: Twins-Orioles

The clubhouse will open at 2 p.m. today, and as usual I’ll
have the lineups on here and Twitter
as soon as possible.   Before
looking ahead to tonight’s game against the Twins, I wanted to go back to last
night’s game, which I caught on MLB Network. (Ok, I only watched Brad Bergesen.
Although looking at the box score, I didn’t miss much else on my day off.)

 Bergesen was disappointed
but it’s important to note that he hasn’t thrown in a game situation since July
30. Assuming he’s healthy -and there’s every indication that’s the case – O’s
fans should give him a few starts before any panic sets in.

Kevin Millwood will start tonight’s game in Fort Myers and
it will be interesting to see if he spends the start working on his fourth-best
pitch again
. For the sake of time and storylines, I hope not.

Millwood will be opposed by Scott Baker with Francisco
Liriano, Jon Rauch, Matt Guerrier, Mike Maroth, Brian Duensing
and Rob Delaney
also slated to pitch. While the Orioles camp has been pretty quiet (minus the
B-Rob stuff) the Twins are reeling from what will likely be the loss of closer
Joe Nathan. Eesh.

Speaking of closers, Mike Gonzalez is scheduled to throw
again
on Friday. Koji Uehara, Jim Johnson and Alberto Castillo are slated to appear
in tonight’s game. Trembley told reporters yesterday that he was going to try to stretch Koji out, so he might go more than one inning.

Roberts is supposed to be reevaluated today, so hopefully we
will have an update on that situation later today.

*Also, the team will play a “B” squad game this Sunday at 10 a.m. vs the Pirates at Pirate City in Bradenton. No word on officially who will be making that trip, but you can probably do your best to guess.

Gonzalez working on adding changeup

Orioles closer Mike Gonzalez has been working a changeup
back into his repertoire this spring, with the hope that he can use the pitch during
the regular season to complement his fastball-slider combo.

“It’s just trying to get my confidence going with that
changeup,” said Gonzalez, who tossed one scoreless inning in Wednesday’s
5-0 loss to the Twins. “I know it’s a good pitch and the coaches tell you
it’s a good pitch, but it’s actually going out there and getting it done and
feeling confident with it.”

Gonzalez said he used the change-up when he came up through
the Minors, but got away from it in previous seasons.  He threw the change several times during
Monday’s game, including two to left-handed hitters, where he says the pitch
has traditionally been the most effective.

“I don’t even worry about the velocity [of the fastball] until
about a week before [regular season] game time, ” Gonzalez said. “That’s when I
really start rearing back and letting it eat. Right now, it’s about trying to get
my location in and working on those pitches.

“So, that’s something that this Spring Training you are
going to see me do a lot of, is just going out there and letting it go. Throwing
that changeup and trying to get a better feel for it.”

Signed to two-year deal in the offseason, Gonzalez underwent
Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery in 2007 and missed most of 2008.
Last season he set career highs in appearances (80), innings pitched (74 1/3)
and strikeouts (90) and has held opposing hitters to a career .209 batting
average.

“I felt good overall,” Gonzalez said of Wednesday’s outing,
his second this spring. “I definitely worked on some things this time as
opposed to [Friday's where] I was very high, I missed down in the zone. So,
that [was] a lot better [on Monday]. “

Gonzalez had a rocky one-inning debut on Friday -allowing a
run on two hits and a walk — and frequently missed high in the zone. On Wednesday,
he admitted the problem was part mechanics and part excitement.

“I am a little amped,” Gonzalez said. “But it’s also just
try not to rush my body. And I tend to do that sometimes with the swaying when I
don’t have it on right with the rhythm. It kind of makes me rush a little bit.

“So, that’s obviously what I’m using Spring Training for, is
to just get myself ready and the mechanics where they need to be.”

After getting Jason Kubel to fly out, Gonzalez walked
Brendan Harris and yielded a double to Jacque Jones. When Harris came around to
try to score on Jones’ ball, Adam Jones fired to shortstop Cesar Izturis, who
threw to the plate. Luke Scott cut off the throw just several feet in front of
home, but he managed to throw it in time to nail the standing Harris.

Given that it was a Spring Training game, Gonzalez was able
to laugh off the bizarre 8-6-3-2 play.

“I was about to scream at him, I was two seconds from
screaming at him, ‘Let it go’,” Gonzalez said of Scott.  “But you know, that’s what why work on PFP
[pitchers fielding practice]. That’s what Spring Training is for. You don’t see
that during the games or during the season. I kind of chuckled because it was an
out. So, obviously it’s a lot funnier when it’s an out.”

Following the game, manger Dave Trembley pointed out that
Scott shouldn’t have cut off that ball. Trembley was also impressed with the 17
pitches he saw from Gonzalez, citing the increased strike ratio (11/17) from
the veteran lefty.

“Overall, it was a positive thing for me,” Gonzalez said. He
is scheduled to follow up Wednesday’s outing with a one-inning performance Friday
against the Florida Marlins.

Twins-Orioles Wrap

The Recap:
Here’s the game story from today’s 5-0 loss to the Twins.
Brian Matusz was happy with his outing,as was closer Mike Gonzalez.
Chris Tillman gets the ball Tuesday against the Rays, while Brad Bergesen makes his debut on Wednesday.

Follow along here as Brian Matusz faces off with Kevin Slowey in sunny Sarasota, where it’s 66 degrees…

Updated 1:21: Matusz surrendered a leadoff double to Ben Revere but got Nick Punto looking for the game’s first out. Michael Cuddyer’s centerfield single put the Twins on the board and Jason Kubel doubled him in for a quick pair of runs. Matusz sent Brendan Harris down on three straight strikes and got Jacque Jones swinging. 26 pitches, 17 for strikes.

Updated 1:35: 10 pitch inning for Matusz, a K, and two infield ground balls. Nicely done.

Updated 1:41: Minus a leadoff single from Felix Pie, the Orioles haven’t done anything again Twins starter Kevin Slowey. Matusz on to open the third, Twins up 2-0.

Updated 1:48:
That’s it for Matusz. He opened the third with two strikeouts and came out after throwing 46 pitches. After allowing the first-inning hit to Kubel, he retired seven straight. Nice rebound.

Updated 3:02: Mike Gonzalez
pitched around a walk, a double and a single, thanks to a nice cut off throw at the plate by first baseman Luke Scott. Gonzalez struck out Chris Parmelee to end the inning. Jim Johnson gave up a run in the fifth and Koji pitched a scoreless sixth.

Updated 3:32: While I was down getting Matusz and Gonzo, the Twins scored another pair of runs, it’s 5-0 going into the bottom of the ninth.

Matusz on ST, staying healthy and BFF Tillman

So, today when I looked outside my window and saw the sun, I thought “Nice, what a great day it will be in Sarasota.” What I did not plan for, was the whipping winds and 50 degree temps that would make my tank top and cardigan choice a source of mockery from the other reporters, players and coaches. After roughing it and watching practice for two plus hours, I booked it into the locker room at the instant we were allowed in. Normally, I like to wait for all the guys to come off the field. But today, I couldn’t feel my fingers. And we all know how much I need those to write, blog and Twitter.

Anyways, while waiting for manager Dave Trembley to talk to the media in the warmth of his office, I started talking to Brian Matusz. It turned into a fun little Q & A, which I transcribed for you below. Enjoy. At my own foolish expense of course. And keep in mind that Matusz mentions the wind and cold weather- just in case you thought I was being a baby.

(Also, if you were curious, the only player who offered to get me a coat was OF Lou Montanez. I think it’s safe to say he is now my favorite Oriole.)

Me: I could use a good story. Got any good stories?
Matusz: [thinks for a second] I don’t really have any stories right now.
Me: Nothing good? How’s Spring Training going?
Matusz: Spring Training’s great. You want me to talk about that?
Me: Yes, please. Anything, really. I’m bored and need a story.
Matusz: [now in full interview mode] Spring Training’s been great, it’s a great group of guys we have. We all get along. We go out there and take care of business but at the same time, we are joking around with each other and having a good time out there. It was a little bit windy today, pretty cold out there, but everything seems to be going really well.

Me: How is this different from last year’s Spring Training for you?
Matusz: For me, it’s a lot different. Last year was my first Spring Training, I came in, I was really nervous, I didn’t really know anyone. Maybe just a couple guys on the team. This year I know everyone pretty well. Even with the new guys [Mike]  Gonzalez, Kevin [Millwood], just great guys. Every day Gonzo always has something to say, something positive. I know that a lot of these guys are really excited about this season because of the talent we have and some of the veteran leadership and everything. It’s a good mix of guys and Gonzalez is an awesome guy. You can just tell he’s real intense and real pumped up about this year. He expects some good things out of a lot of us, and it’s a real motivation booster when you have veteran teammates like that behind you, really pumping you up and getting you excited.

Me: Has Millwood shared some of his wisdom and old baseball stories with you guys yet?
Matusz: Not yet. Kevin’s, I think, trying to get to know us a little bit better. Luckily, Chris Tillman and I have the chance to play catch with him and goof around. He keeps things real loose. You can tell he’s out there working real hard, he just has a good personality. Nice, funny personality, he’s just enjoying himself. He’s one of those guys who is just talking to everyone.
 
Me: You and Tillman are really close. How did that come about?
Matusz: People joke around about Chris and I being so close. We are always doing things together. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we live together in Spring Training [this year]. We got a condo together, and we come to and from the field together. We didn’t meet until last year in Spring Training and than just right away we started hanging out, becoming good friends. We are both from similar [areas], I’m from Arizona he’s from California, but I went to school in San Diego [at the University of San Diego], so we know a lot of the same people that we played ball together with.
 
[We're] just similar personalities, and we both got called up to the big leagues around the same time, so we’ve been able to hang out with each other a bunch and kind of work our way up together. It’s nice having someone there who is in the same situation as me, being young and being put in the spotlight around the same time. So, we kind of learn from each other and work together to learn the unwritten rules and things like that. Chris is a great guy.

Me: Does it help having know Matt Wieters from the minors as well? I know that’s a special relationship pitcher to catcher.
Matusz: Yeah, sure. Matt and I played in the Arizona Fall League together (in 2008), that was my first experience of professional baseball and he was my catcher and we were able to work together and learn about each other a lot. And I feel like it really helped out going into last season when I got brought up to the big leagues. We were both really familiar with each other and I think that really helped out. I know Matt’s a young guy like myself, but he really is a leader out there. He really knows his role and is really helpful and we get along really well, so to have that chemistry between pitcher and catcher is really special.

Me: So you went to school in San Diego. Are excited for the trip out there this year? You guys play them this year.
Matusz: We do. That’s on the schedule; I think it’s the middle of June. I definitely looked at that, told a lot of my friends, coaches back in San Diego. Right now, my focus is on the spring and getting ready, but hopefully I will have the opportunity to pitch in San Diego in front of a big group of family and friends.

Me: I know a lot of guys don’t set individual goals. But is there anything you are focused on this spring you want to carry over into the rest of the year?
Matusz: One big goal for myself is to stay healthy and to pitch throughout the entire season. Last year I got shut down early at the end of the year because of my innings mark, it was already planned ahead. But this year, my goal is to stay healthy, stay strong and prove that I can go past that mark and stay healthy all the way through it. That’s my main goal.

Me: This was great. Anything else you want to add?
Matusz: No, not really. I hope it gets warm soon, so I can go to the beach. Go check out Siesta Key.

You hear that weather gods? Brian Matusz wants to go to the beach. And so do I. So make it happen. 

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