CHICAGO — Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez was back in the Orioles' clubhouse on Saturday morning after nearly two weeks in the minor leagues.
Despite pitching well, Gonzalez was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Aug. 12 to make room for right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, who was coming off the disabled list.
The Orioles planned to bring Gonzalez back shortly after he fulfilled his mandatory 10-day option window, and after the team relegated Jimenez to the bullpen, he will slot back into the rotation to pitch Sunday in the series finale against the Cubs. He likely will be activated officially before Sunday’s game.
"Everyone's receiving me like it was my first time being called up,” Gonzalez said. “It was fun. They're all excited to have me back, so I'm excited as well. … I was excited to come back, and I think tomorrow's game is going to be a battle, and it's going to be exciting at the same time. I can't wait. It's been a while. It's been two weeks, so I'm excited."
Gonzalez pitched three scoreless innings for Triple-A Norfolk on Aug. 13, an outing shortened in case he was needed in relief. He also threw around 75 pitches in a simulated game at Double-A Bowie on Monday.
"I faced Buck Britton,” Gonzalez said of the brother of top Orioles pitching prospect Zach Britton. “He was all pumped. I thought it was a good little workout I had. It's going to help me out for tomorrow's game."
Before he was optioned, Gonzalez (8-6) had allowed two earned runs or fewer in five of his past six big league starts for the Orioles, but because he had minor league options — and because the club already had activated his option for this season to give him work over the All-Star break — he was the most sensible starter to send down.
“Yeah, it was a tough decision for them,” Gonzalez said. “I’m one of the few guys who have options, so it was a decision for them to make. I went down, got my work in, and I’m ready to rock and roll.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun