Orioles manager Dave Trembley and pitching coach Rick Kranitz met with beleaguered closer Mike Gonzalez before the clubhouse opened to the media today.
Trembley and Kranitz discussed the video they watched of Gonzalez last year, compared to what he's shown in three appearances this week.
"I don't think it has anything to do with pressure. I don't think it has anything to do with injury," Trembley said. "I don't believe it has anything to do with anything other than the fact that he hasn't been successful. And the reason he hasn't been successful, our feelings now, is his mechanics are different, his arm angle is a little different. We're going to have him work with Kranitz in the bullpen and get him straightened out.
"It's the same approach we did with (George) Sherrill last year. When the guys fail, there's a reason for it and we're here to help them."
As opposed to burying them.
"I would caution everybody not to jump to conclusions about giving up on Gonzalez," Trembley said. "We've played four games. These guys that are closers, the focus and attention is on them, and rightfully so. And they're responsible to a large degree for the outcome of the game. But I would caution everyone to not start writing the epitaph for Gonzalez so soon. The guy has pitched and been good at it and has wanted the ball."
Trembley doesn't know who will take the ball if we have a save situation tonight, "but it won't be Gonzalez," he said.
He probably would have laid off Gonzalez anyway because "he's been pushed the first four games," Trembley said. "He wants the ball. I think, not to downplay it, he's probably got out of his lane somewhat."
No wonder I had trouble driving on 695 earlier today.
"He knows he hasn't lived up to what everybody thought, but he's got a long time to catch up and make up for it. I certainly hope people will be patient and give him another chance," Trembley said.
The Orioles told Gonzalez that he has to get himself straightened out mechanically. "He agrees with it," Trembley said. "He said he went home last night and reevaluated himself, and the way he's thrown in the bullpen is no where near what he does when he comes out on the mound. He is a guy who falls off, but he's falling off way too soon."
Trembley said it might take one or two sessions for Gonzalez to correct these flaws. Gonzalez told Trembley that he appreciated it and would work with Kranitz to find the solution.
Trembley won't speculate whether Gonzalez's problems can be traced to changing leagues.
"I do think some guys try to do something other than what's brought them to the dance, so to speak, when they come to new teams or they come to a new division or they get a new contract," Trembley said. "I think they try to gain acceptance and prove their worth, and I don't think that's the right way to go. I think you should have confidence in yourself. And I'm not saying Mike doesn't, but human nature is such that we all want to be liked, we all want to be accepted, we all want to do what we think is good, we all want a pat on the back. Sometimes you forget what brought you there."