Phillies trying to reel in Miguel Gonzalez
Back in October, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez was even more mysterious than he is now. Having just arrived in Clearwater, the 27-year-old was getting acclimated with his new surroundings.
But the people were curious. Just what did they have in this Cuban question mark, whose price tag dropped dramatically after weeks of ambiguous nothingness?
"The real questions about Gonzalez will not be answered until we see him in spring training. That's the first chance he'll get to show off an arsenal of pitches that he said includes a fastball, curveball, change-up, cutter, splitter, sinker, and even a knuckleball.
He said he will throw all of them."
The kid's stockpile of weapons caught people off guard. Seven pitches? Including a knuckleball? Most guys who throw a knuckleball throw pretty much just knuckleballs. Clearly, Gonzalez raised a few eyebrows.
Cut to Clearwater, months later, as the Phillies begin filtering in for training camp. Gonzalez is now in a better position to assimilate with the team and discover what his role will be, thanks to the acquistion of A.J. Burnett taking pressure off him filling a spot in the rotation.
The Phillies' new pitching coach, Bob McClure, is attempting to breed a culture of relaxed hurlers who give their best when they're not treating baseball like the screaming hell ride that it is. The Phillies believe that trimming back Gonzalez's repetoire, from six or seven pitches to a more common three or four, will simplify things mentally and physically, while allowing him to improve the pitches he will throw.
The further into spring we go, the more we'll learn about Gonzalez, who seems to just be full of surprises.