Manager Ryne Sandberg has not been impressed with the Cuban defector surrounded in mystery, and his debut outing against the Yankees was far less than impressive. Nonetheless, Ruben Amaro, Jr. seems to feel like Gonzalez is going to get there.
Todd Zolecki of MLB.com spoke with Amaro during a media session about his newest pitcher, and ‘patient’ and ‘optimistic’ seem to be the best words to describe the GM’s feelings.
He was rusty and he wasn’t throwing a lot of strikes. But I think stuff-wise it was encouraging. He probably threw better with his stuff as far as his velocity and breaking ball since he’s been in camp. It’s a process. We’ve got to let him develop from there. But I was encouraged by his poise. I was encouraged that his stuff was better than it had been in his sides. And hopefully it will continue to progress in a positive way.
The ‘rusty’ comment comes from the fact that Gonzalez hasn’t pitched competitively since 2012, having had to serve a one-year suspension after being caught trying to defect from Cuba. The Phillies eventually signed him to a three-year, $12 million contract after it had been reported that they signed him to a six-year, $60 million deal.
In his debut, Gonzalez struck out two batters before walking four and allowing an earned run in 1.2 innings pitched. He threw 51 pitches in his outing.
Tags: Philadelphia Phillies