SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) - A year ago, the Baltimore Orioles had no idea what they had in Miguel Gonzalez. This season, they're depending on him to be a fixture in the rotation.
Gonzalez was signed as a minor league free agent after spring training began in 2012 and never appeared in big league camp. Less than two months into the season, though, the right-hander had pitched so well in the minors that the Orioles promoted him and he became their second-biggest winner.
Gonzalez pitched for the first time this spring on Sunday and threw two scoreless innings in Baltimore's 12-3 victory over a split squad of Philadelphia Phillies. He entered camp confident he'd make the team, but not with a sense of entitlement.
``He's not taking one pitch for granted,' Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. ``This guy, he's not assuming anything. When you've been where he is, Miguel's trying to make the club.'
Gonzalez hadn't pitched in a major league spring training game since 2007.
``I tried to work on everything,' he said. ``We try to get in there and try to get out (of) there as soon as possible.'
Chris Tillman started and pitched 2 2-3 innings for Baltimore. Gonzalez allowed just a walk and struck out two.
In his first start, Tillman struggled through 1 2-3 innings. Against Philadelphia, he allowed a wind-aided home run to Michael Young in the third.
``I come out of this with a positive mindset,' Tillman said. ``I feel a little more comfortable with all my pitches.'
Tillman and Gonzalez were well-supported when Matt Wieters homered and drove in five runs. Conor Jackson also had a big day with two home runs.
Baltimore scored seven times in the fifth on a two-run double by Wieters, a three-run homer by Jackson and a two-run drive by non-roster outfielder Jason Pridie.
The Orioles have the best spring training record of any team in Florida at 7-2.
``Camp's got a good feeling to it,' Showalter said.
Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick, who allowed four runs and four hits in two innings, was bothered by the cool conditions.
``I like throwing in warmer weather,' he said.
The game-time temperature was 52 degrees on a windy day. Fans wore ear muffs and hooded sweat shirts.
Kendrick is slated to be Philadelphia's fourth starter, and that relaxes him.
``It's nice, I'm not going to lie,' he said. ``You're still working on things. It's a different feeling for me.'
Freddy Galvis hit a solo homer in the eighth for the Phillies.
NOTES: Baltimore RHP Pedro Strop, who pitched a scoreless sixth, will join the Dominican Republic for the World Baseball Classic. ... Orioles RF Nick Markakis was out with neck spasms. ... The Phillies were managed by third base coach Ryne Sandberg. ... Baltimore OF Nolan Reimold, who left Friday's game with a sore right shoulder, will probably be the designated hitter Tuesday when the team plays Toronto in Dunedin. ... The Orioles are off on Monday. ... Showalter is scheduled to leave for a one-day trip to receive an award in Baltimore on Monday night. ... Union head Michael Weiner visited the Orioles before the game and said there would be talks on toughening penalties for drug offenders. ``We had some dialogue even with the commissioner's office in the offseason that didn't lead to any changes, and I suspect that we'll have those discussions over the course of the year,' he said. ``But it's going to be a 2014 issue. We're not going to change the rules of the game in the middle of the season. In a sense, the drug-testing season started with spring training.'
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved