Digest: Ex-Oriole Gonzalez signs with Brewers

Filly Championship, Broad Brush Stakes on Monday's card at Laurel Park

December 29, 2012|Sports Digest

Baseball

Ex-Oriole Gonzalez signs with Brewers

The Milwaukee Brewers have agreed to a one-year deal with former Orioles left-handed reliever Michael Gonzalez, according to a Fox Sports report Friday. Gonzalez, 34, flourished last season with the Washington Nationals as a midseason addition on a one-year minor league deal and pitched in key situations against left-handed batters down the stretch. According to a CBS Sports report, his deal with the Brewers is worth $2.25million with incentives, making him the second Nationals left-handed reliever to head to the Brewers, a team starved for them. Again, the Nationals lost out on bringing back one of their own relievers, choosing not to pay in a market where left-handed relievers are at a premium. Instead, they are left with only one left-handed reliever on the major league roster and a handful of right-handers who have been effective against left-handed hitters in their careers. Gonzalez joined the Nationals in June, pitched 352/3 innings, striking out 39 batters and posting a 3.03 ERA, holding lefties to a .179 batting average and serving as a mentor to fellow southpaws such as Ross Detwiler. There was mutual interest between the Nationals and Gonzalez on returning to Washington. The left-handed reliever said earlier this winter that he enjoyed his time here and wanted to return, but was hoping for a multi-year deal. Gonzalez had said at least 10 teams had shown an interest and he was open to hearing from them, but his priority was to stay with the Nationals. Gonzalez could not immediately be reached for comment Friday. Nationals manager Davey Johnson said his preference would be to add a left-hander to the bullpen, but he and general manager Mike Rizzo have said they would be comfortable with their right-handed relievers against left-handed batters next season. The Nationals have homed in on free-agent left-handed reliever J.P. Howell, who had a 3.04ERA in 501/3 innings for the Tampa Bay Rays last season, as their preferred replacement for Sean Burnett, who signed with the Los Angeles Angels this month.

James Wagner, The Washington Post

Laurel Park

Filly Championship, Broad Brush on Monday's card

Laurel Park will offer live racing on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, with the Monday program including two stakes — the $125,000 Broad Brush Stakes and the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship. The Juvenile Filly Championship was scheduled to run Wednesday but was postponed because of inclement weather. When the race was redrawn, a horse was added, so seven fillies will go 71/2 furlongs in Monday's fourth race. The Broad Brush Stakes, the day's eighth race, attracted nine entrants who will go nine furlongs. Graded stakes winner Called to Serve is the 9-5 morning-line choice in the Broad Brush. Trained by Nick Canani at Belmont Park, the son of Real Quiet won the Grade III Discovery Handicap in his most recent start. Joel Rosario is named to ride. Local favorite Eighttofasttocatch (7-2) defended his title in the Jennings Handicap in his most recent start. The Not For Love offspring has won six stakes races at Laurel Park for trainer Tim Keefe since March 2011. Abel Castellano, Maryland's leading rider, has the assignment on the 6-year-old for the first time. "He returned to form in his last start. That was the kind of race I thought he'd run in the Maryland Million Classic (finished fifth as the favorite)," Keefe said. "I am not going to give Abel a lot of instructions, he has watched the horse run. In an ideal situation we would go to the front, slow it down and hope it goes our way but I think he is versatile enough that if it doesn't go according to plan he can relax from the outside." Sheldon Russell, who has been aboard Eighttofasttocatch 19 times, will ride Hello Lover (5-1). The Butch Reid trainee finished a distant second to Eighttofasttocatch in the Jennings here Dec. 1. The son of Not For Love has won nine of 16 this year for nearly $300,000. In the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship, the favorite Walkwithapurpose (2-1) is 2-for-3 lifetime for trainer Ignacio Correas. The Sagamore Farm homebred finished third in her debut at the Timonium State Fair but has won her past two starts, both at Laurel, in relatively easy fashion. Jeremy Rose continues in the irons on the daughter of Candy Ride. Correas will also start Listen Boy (5-1), who broke her maiden on the turf in late October.

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