Orioles notes: Despite loss, Miguel Gonzalez caps 'best week' with quality start

After daughter's birth, starting pitcher holds Blue Jays to three runs, three hits in 7 1/3 innings Saturday

June 22, 2013|By Eduardo A. Encina, The Baltimore Sun

TORONTO — This hasn't been a normal week for Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez.

Gonzalez left the team before Monday's game to travel to California for the birth of his first child, then took a cross-continent flight Thursday in order to start Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

He wasn't able to throw his normal bullpen session between starts because he was away from the team, so he threw on his own with family members Tuesday and Wednesday.

That didn't stop Gonzalez from recording his fourth straight quality start in the Orioles' 4-2 loss to Toronto, as he allowed three runs and three hits in 7 1/3 innings.

"It wasn't easy. I came out and I was pumped," Gonzalez said. "When I was home, I played a little catch. It was different because I didn't throw any bullpens or anything like that, but I came in with a positive attitude, and I made some good pitches when I needed to."

The Orioles have consistently tried to give Gonzalez an extra day of rest, and the timing of the birth of his baby daughter, Leah, and Thursday's off day allowed the club to give Gonzalez a fifth day of rest. Gonzalez entered Saturday with a 5-2 record and a 2.33 ERA when he gets more than the regular four days rest.

"We were going to give him an extra day anyway, but things worked out well for him," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He was outstanding today. He pitched really well. He's been pitching pretty well for us all season. He gives us a chance to win more times than not, and he did it today."

Gonzalez, who has held the Blue Jays to three or fewer runs in five of his six career starts against them, rebounded from a first inning in which he allowed a run to score on a wild pitch with two outs in the inning. He retired 17 of the next 19 batters he faced until he left the game following Munenori Kawasaki's single with one out in the eighth.

"Miguel pitched great," Orioles catcher Taylor Teagarden said. "He was able to spot his fastball in and out. He was able to use all four pitches, able to keep them off balance, and we were able to play good behind him. It was nice to see him attack guys and give us a chance to keep us in the ballgame."

Kawasaki scored on Jose Bautista's two-run homer off Darren O'Day, which made Gonzalez (5-3) the tough-luck loser. But Gonzalez was still pleased with his performance, which capped a week to remember.

"I think this has been the best week," Gonzalez said. "We had a baby girl and we're excited for it. Now I'm a dad, so I have responsibility to attend and help out my wife [Lucia] to do what she needs to do to help out the baby."

Pearce hopes wrists will get better with rest

Orioles outfielder Steve Pearce, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with left wrist tendinitis, said he's been receiving treatment on both wrists for the past month.

As someone who doesn't play every day, Pearce said he essentially swung too much and that hasn't allowed the wrists to heal. He will not swing a bat for the next few days and he'll see how the wrists respond to the rest.

"When you don't play every day, you've got to stay sharp and get as many hacks as you can," Pearce said. "That's just as important. I was kind of taking it to the extreme because I'd go to the tee — in the third inning I'd go warm up, in the fifth inning, I'd go hit again, and in the seventh inning, I'd probably go hit some more. They literally had to take the bat out of my hand."

Pearce, who had made just one start in the 10 days before being placed on the DL, said the injury probably affected his play.

"It's definitely frustrating, but it's a part of baseball," Pearce said. "It happens. If I continuously tried to keep playing through this, it's only going to get worse, and my performance will struggle. I think, to an extent, it has. I'm trying to create more because I have to take more hacks to get where it feels comfortable. That's another reason I've been hitting so much, because the more I sit around, the sorer they get, so I've tried to keep them warm. It's just, it takes a toll on it the next day. I think that's a part of it."

Pearce said he hopes to go on a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment in order to get regular at-bats before he returns from the DL. He is eligible to return July 5.

"It's hard," he said. "I need to let my wrists calm down, so it's going to be something I go on feel. It's a long season, so I don't need to rush back. I want to get this thing under control."

Davis, Wieters get a rest

For the second time in three games, Chris Davis started at designated hitter Saturday.

Travis Ishikawa filled in at first base and drove in his first run with the Orioles on a one-out single in the fifth inning.

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