The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Phillies eager to see what they've got in Cuban RHP Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez

  • Print

CLEARWATER, Fla. - 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 off-season 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 per cent" 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 favourite.

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.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Spring fashion trends

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Goslings with some size head for cover Wednesday afternoon on Commerce Drive in Tuxedo Business Park - See Bryksa 30 Goose Challenge- Day 12- May 16, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Susan and Gary Harrisonwalk their dog Emma on a peaceful foggy morning in Assiniboine Park – Standup photo– November 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What Western Conference teams will emerge from the first round of the NHL playoffs?

View Results

Ads by Google