Orioles' closer Mike Gonzalez goes on the DL

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UPDATE:  Yep, he’s hurt. Gonzalez is on the 15-day DL with a strained left shoulder.

12:13 P.M. The Orioles’ new $12 million closer hasn’t been worth a thin dime so far. Based on this mashed-up series of tweets from Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, he may be more than merely ineffective. He may be hurt:

Dave Trembley just revealed that Michale Gonzalez
was not available Tuesday. He may have a shoulder situation . . . Gonzalez came back from the birth of his first
child on Monday and told Trembley he couldn’t get loose to come in game . . .
Gonzalez isn’t available today and will see a team
doctor, Trembley said. He apparently was in training room with shoulder
iced.

When Gonzalez came over to the Braves from the Pirates in 2007 he pitched in 18 games, then missed the rest of the year and half of the following year with Tommy John surgery. The difference between then and now: at least Gonzalez was effective in the handful of games he pitched for the Braves before he got hurt. His three appearances thus far have been fairly disastrous.

I hope Gonzalez isn’t hurt, because really, who wants someone to be hurt? But given how hard he was worked last year — 80 appearances in his first full post-Tommy John season — I’m not entirely optimistic.

Kyle Schwarber is “probably, arguably” in The Best Shape of His Life

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Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.

Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.

To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.