Raul Ibanez will be the subject of tomorrow morning’s headlines, but Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez owned the Yankees on Wednesday night. The rookie right-hander struck out eight and walked none in seven innings at Yankee Stadium. The one run he surrendered was the result of Adam Jones taking two steps in on a Derek Jeter “triple” that ended up over the center fielder’s head.
Gonzalez just doesn’t seem to understand the fact that Yankee Stadium is a difficult place to pitch. He’s made three starts there and gone 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA and a 25/1 K/BB ratio in 20 2/3 innings. It would have been 3-0 if Jim Johnson could have held the lead tonight.
The 28-year-old Gonzalez may well be the biggest surprise of all of the surprises on the Baltimore roster. A one-time Angels farmhand, he was selected by the Red Sox in the Dec. 2008 Rule 5 draft. He hurt his elbow the next spring, spent the entire 2009 season on the DL and then showed little in the Boston farm system the next two years. In 2011, he went 0-7 with a 5.40 ERA at three levels of the minors. The Orioles signed him last winter as a minor league free agent, and now he’s dominating the Yankees in the postseason. It’s a funny game, that’s for sure.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.