Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez AP

Phillies hope Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez will open 2014 in the starting rotation

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After agreeing to a three-year, $12 million deal with the Phillies in late August, Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez spoke to the media for the first time Thursday at the team’s spring training complex in Clearwater.

While Gonzalez was originally expected to sign a six-year, $48 million contract with the Phillies, the deal was reworked amid concerns about the health of his throwing elbow. The 27-year-old offered a “no comment” to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com on why the deal fell through, but he had bone chips removed from his elbow in January of 2012. The Phillies are taking things slow with his throwing program, but minor-league pitching coordinator Carlos Arroyo said that Gonzalez is healthy.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. told reporters that scouts view Gonzalez as a potential No. 2 or 3 starter down the road. As of now, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee are the only sure things for the starting rotation going into 2014, but Amaro hopes that Gonzalez will join them.

Here’s a look at some video of the Phillies’ newest pitcher, courtesy of CSNPhilly.com:

Video: Undercover David Ortiz drives a Lyft in Boston

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David Ortiz did one of those “Undercover Lyft” spots for, well, Lyft, in which famous people disguise themselves while driving passengers around. Yes, they’re ads, but they’re still pretty funny. At least this one was.

Best parts: (1) the woman who says she has two David Ortiz shirts to which Undercover Ortiz responds, “actually, all my shirts are his shirts”; and (2) when Ortiz agrees with someone that baseball games are “so loooong.” Oh, and at one point he tells a woman who said she was going to the Red Sox game that night that he was too. After he unmasked himself, she explains his own joke to him. Which, ooohhkay.

In other news, people who take Lyfts in Boston either don’t watch much baseball, because Ortiz’s costume is NOT very concealing, or else they simply don’t look at their Lyft driver while in the car, at all.

Scouting in Venezuela: “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time”

MIAMI - MARCH 14:  Venezuela fans cheer with a country flag while taking on the Netherlands during round 2 of the World Baseball Classic at Dolphin Stadium on March 14, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
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Ben Badler of Baseball America has a story about how major league scouts who cover Venezuela are unhappy with the rules imposed upon them by the league. Rules, they say, which unreasonably prohibit them from scouting Venezuelan players in centralized, team-controlled locations or, alternatively, flying them to team facilities in the Dominican Republic or elsewhere.

The result: international scouts are forced to travel all over Venezuela to evaluate prospect. And, given how destabilized and dangerous Venezuela has become, they believe their safety is at risk:

“MLB’s rules that limit our ability to travel a Venezuelan guy to the Dominican Republic, that limit our ability to get them in a complex at different ages, all these rules are solely contributing to the risks that all of us are taking traveling from complex to complex, facility to facility in the streets,” said one international director. “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time, and it’s on MLB when it happens, because they’re the ones who created these rules.”

As Badler notes, Major League Baseball itself has moved its annual national showcase out of the country due to safety concerns. It will not, however, relax scouting rules — which seem arbitrary on their surface in the first place — in order to make the job of international scouts safer.

It seems that Rob Manfred and the league owe their employees better than this. Or at the very least owe them an explanation why they don’t think they do.