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.

Giants remove pitching coach Dave Righetti

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After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.

According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.

Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.

Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.