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Gonzalez getting second opinion, Bergy still option for May 1 start

Orioles injured closer Michael Gonzalez was supposed to report to the team's spring training complex today in Sarasota to begin a rehabilitation program for his strained left shoulder, but first he'll be in Birmingham, Ala., to get a second opinion from noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

It's never great news to hear anybody visiting Dr. Andrews, but Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said there is also no reason to be alarmed. Gonzalez is just seeking a second opinion and he's had no setbacks or anything.

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"I have no reason to believe that the original prognosis is not the one that comes to fruition, which is to expect him back in like three weeks," MacPhail said. "I think it's generally a good idea [to get a second opinion]. It's not up to us or not. It's a collectively bargained rite that they have, which makes common sense. You're not going to be available for a couple of weeks so why not? Let's get the information."

MacPhail also discussed Brad Bergesen's demotion and said that it was more of a matter of the two off days (Thursday and next Monday) giving the Orioles an opportunity for the second-year pitcher to work on his mechanics in a less-pressurized environment. The Orioles won't need a fifth starter until May 1, and MacPhail said that Bergesen is very much a candidate to pitch in that spot.

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Of course, he'll obviously have to show some improvement at Triple-A Norfolk for that to happen.

"Rather than him work sporadically or work out of the bullpen, he is better served to go to Triple-A, get a start under his belt and spend some time working on his mechanics where he can get his sinker back to where it was last year," MacPhail said.

As for Bergesen making that May 1 start, MacPhail said, "We'll see how he does. Clearly, if he can make some of the adjustments we're asking him to make, he's as viable of a candidate as anybody else."

Though Bergesen clearly looks uncomfortable on the mound and is coming off both shin and shoulder injuries, MacPhail said that the pitcher's struggles aren't injury related.

"The velocity is there," he said. "His stuff is just flat. He's not getting the downward movement that he had a year ago. It's an opportunity for him to go work on his mechanics and to get himself back here and pitch like he pitched for us a year ago."

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