CLEARWATER, Fla. — There are no numbers by which Miguel Gonzalez can be judged, only brief throwing sessions with a screen between the pitcher and his teammates. The mysterious Cuban righthander has not impressed in these settings.
Ryne Sandberg stationed himself behind the cage Friday for the entirety of Gonzalez's live batting practice session. When asked for his observations, the Phillies manager did not issue a ringing endorsement.
"Well, a guy that is coming back from injury and hasn't pitched competitively for a couple of years, I know that we're using a lot of patience with him," Sandberg said. "That's really the biggest part of the strategy with him. So we'll see. We'll see how things go and how he progresses."
Sandberg has witnessed little from his $12 million pitcher to inspire confidence. There is time, of course, for improvement.
"He's still a little bit of a mystery to me," Sandberg said. "I know the facts about him. Those are the things that stand out. I want to see progression and see how he is."
Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.