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Reliever Michael Gonzalez told manager Dave Trembley he was not available to pitch last night because he couldn't get loose. Trembley said that he went to the training room today to check on his new closer and found him getting treatment on his shoulder.

This appears to be another strange chapter in the Michael Gonzalez saga, and it is particularly interesting to me because I was the first one ot ask him during the early days of spring training if he was having a problem getting comfortable on the mound. He mildly rebuked me for my inquiry, since I had not spent enough time watching him pitch to determine whether he looked comfortable or not. It was a fair point at the time.

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He insisted his arm was fine and continued to insist that right up until Tuesday night. He did struggle with some lower back soreness about midway through training camp, but that apparently is no longer an issue.

What followed were weeks of wondering why his velocity was not up to his normal standards and why he did so much of his pitching against minor league competition instead of in exhibition games.

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Of course, there were also the scouts who passed through Sarasota and wondered about him, some of whom seemed convinced that he was pitching hurt.

Everybody knows what has happened since. He has made three appearances and has been ineffective in all of them, though he managed to get a save in the final game of the season-opening road series against the Rays.

He was up in the bullpen last night and Trembley said there were several junctures in the game when he might have used him if Gonzalez had not declined to pitch.

"He didn't feel comfortable getting loose last night,'' Trembley said.

Gonzalez apparently is being checked out by Orioles orthopedist Dr. Andrew Cosgarea about now. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if he ended up on the disabled list and the Orioles called up Kam Mickolio or Alberto Castillo by the end of the day.

Instant update: And I'm not surprised that the Orioles just announced that Gonzalez has been placed on the 15-day DL with a strained shoulder.

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