By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
6:43 PM EST, March 7, 2014
SARASOTA, FLA. -- Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez left Friday’s home Grapefruit League game against the Philadelphia Phillies just three batters into his outing after suffering a a bruised left tibia when he was hit by a sharp comebacker in the top of the fifth inning.
Gonzalez left the Ed Smith Stadium complex to get precautionary X-rays, but the club believes he will be fine.
“It looked liked it hit him in a pretty meaty spot, I would say, so we’ll see what happens as the trainers and doctors look at him, but hopefully it’s nothing serious,” said Orioles bench coach John Russell, who served as manager for part of Friday’s game. “He looked like he walked off the field fine, so I would say he’s going to be all right.”
It was still a scary sight. The ball — which came off the bat off Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp — hit off Gonzalez’s leg, and he fell to ground, but quickly got back to his feet. After being examined by manager Buck Showalter and head trainer Richie Bancells, Gonzalez walked off the field and back to the clubhouse with Bancells.
“That’s how quick things can change,” said Orioles pitching coach Dave Wallace. “You don’t know. Hopefully, it’s good news. I think it is. … You wonder and immediately start thinking about options. We always talk about pitching depth.”
Gonzalez was originally scheduled to start Thursday’s exhibition game against Tampa Bay, but he was pushed back to Friday because the game was rained out. The club hoped he would go three innings and remain on track, but since he lasted only three hitters, Wallace will have to see when he can get Gonzalez back into the rotation.
“First of all, you see how he is [physically] and then you have to go to the planning board to see where he can slot in next, if he can,” Wallace said. “That’s all to be determined.
Early in spring training, Gonzalez was slowed by back spasms, but quickly returned to full strength.
Also of note:
-- The Orioles made their first round of spring training cuts on Friday, optioning left-hander Mike Belfiore to Triple-A Norfolk and reassigning right-hander Tim Alderson and left-hander Nick Additon to minor league camp.
Belfiore, who is on the organization’s 40-man roster, allowed one run over two relief innings this spring. A September call up last season, he pitched in one major league game, allowing two runs on three hits over 1 1/3 innings.
Alderson and Additon were bother non-roster invitees. Alderson, a former first-round pick, allowed five runs – all earned – on four hits over one inning of work this spring. Additon yielded two runs over two innings over two outings in Grapefruit League play.
The Orioles now have 59 players in big league camp.
-- Phillies right-hander A.J. Burnett, who was roughed up for six runs over seven hits over three innings in his second spring outing, had little to say about the Orioles’ offseason interest in him.
Burnett, who lives in Monkton, was one of the Orioles’ top offseason targets, but he didn’t decide he was going to pitch this season until early-February and eventually signed a one-year, $ 16-million deal.
Asked about the Orioles interest in him, he was blunt.
“I’ve already answered all those questions,” he said. “I’m a Phillie now, so that’s where I stand.”
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