Phillies wonder what they've got in RHP Gonzalez

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 14, 2014
The Philadelphia Phillies have missed the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and have an aging, injury-plagued roster with a record payroll. They have many questions as spring training camp opens, but perhaps none are accompanied by the same amount of mystery that follows right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. The 27-year-old Gonzalez signed a three-year, $12 million deal last August as a free agent out of Cuba. Gonzalez is expected to compete for a spot in the Phillies' rotation. But before arriving in camp this month, neither manager Ryne Sandberg nor general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. had ever seen Gonzalez pitch. ''It's good to see what he's got,'' Sandberg said after watching Gonzalez throw off the mound Thursday at the team's first official workout. ''He shows deception with his delivery, so that's something. I'll be anxious to see how he continues to look as he continues to build arm strength.'' Gonzalez is a mystery not only because he's never pitched a professional game in the United States, but also because he's been barred from pitching altogether for the majority of the last two years after a failed defection from Cuba. Since his work had been limited, Gonzalez was handled with caution by the Phillies when he reported to Clearwater in September. Gonzalez threw one bullpen session in October before taking a break and rebooting his offseason program in January. Gonzalez said he's thrown seven or eight bullpen sessions since January and isn't concerned about durability despite the light workload in the last two years. ''I'm not worried,'' Gonzalez said through an interpreter. ''I'll be prepared and ready to go. Stamina, being in shape, that doesn't worry me.'' If the Phillies are worried or concerned, they aren't showing it. Gonzalez said he was ''100 percent'' healthy following his bullpen session on Thursday. But until he has consistent success against major league hitters, there will be at least a touch of skepticism about the mystery man in Phillies camp. ''I've got more to prove to myself than anyone else,'' Gonzalez said. ''Once I prove it to myself, everyone else will be able to see it clearly.'' With All-Stars Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, newcomer A.J. Burnett and veteran Kyle Kendrick all but guaranteed starting spots, Gonzalez will be competing with right-handers Roberto Hernandez, Jonathan Pettibone and Ethan Martin for the final spot in the rotation. Hernandez, who signed a one-year, $4.5 million deal in December, is considered the heavy favorite. Gonzalez said he's open to pitching out of the bullpen. But he could start the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, too, as Amaro views him as a starter. ''I think he's more suited to be a starter, but we'll keep an open mind,'' Amaro said.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kristi Yamaguchi wasn't throwing shade at Nancy Kerrigan with tweet

Rodgers: Packers fans ‘should be really excited’ about season

Ball brothers’ H.S. coach details how hard LaVar Ball is to work with

Philip Rivers shares thoughts on Chargers possibly drafting QB

Molina rips Jones for saying Puerto Rico celebrated early

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Bill Murray goes nuts celebrating Xavier’s upset

Pat Kelsey ditches UMass right before first press conference

Report: Top GM candidates not interested in Redskins job due to Daniel Snyder

Carmelo Anthony: Knicks were more free-flowing before triangle emphasis

Report: Deal in works for Raiders to play at Sam Boyd Stadium in Vegas

Yoenis Cespedes: MLB would grow if they played with Latin culture

Box Score 3/24: Waiting on West Virginia

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory, World Baseball Classic (finally) lived up to its potential

The NFL distraction playbook

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Box Score 3/23: Team USA wins their first WBC title

The 'Duke schadenfreude season came early this year' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

Phillies News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Eastern Conference bottom feeders to watch down the stretch

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker