VandenHurk, acquired from the Marlins at last summer’s non-waiver trade deadline for reliever Will Ohman, is 9-13 with a 4.43 ERA, 40 walks and 108 strikeouts in 154 1/3 innings. He’s allowed one earned run or fewer in each of his last three starts.
Manager Buck Showalter offered his thoughts on reliever Michael Gonzalez:
“I wasn’t here for the first two-thirds last year,” he said. “I know he had some physical challenges, but I know he pitched pretty well last year toward the end of the season. Seems like he’s in a good spot right now. I bet you there was multiple interest in him. Obviously, there was some pressure on their part to get it done before Sept. 1 so he’s eligible for the playoffs.
“Gonzo is going to be a really nice piece for Ron Washington and the Rangers. He’s pitching as good as any American League reliever - left-hander, reliever, period. They’re catching him at a great time. He’s familiar with the American League, so there should be little transition. He’s obviously familiar with the state of Texas. So, it’s a really good situation for them.”
Gonzalez said he learned of the trade about 30 minutes before the clubhouse opened to reporters this afternoon.
“It’s kind of a mixed reaction for me right now,” said Gonzalez, who resides in Deer Park, Texas. “I’m excited. I’m going to go out there and I’m going to try to win the championship now, and especially right now that I’m feeling good. The bad part is obviously I wanted to do more here in Baltimore. It’s one of those things where I’m very thankful for Andy (MacPhail) giving me the opportunity and having faith that I could come and get it done. Like I said, I wish would’ve been able to be better for the fans and things like that. But it is what it is. I tried my best toward the end and go out there and try to get something done.”
Gonzalez wishes he could have pitched this well all season and for the duration of his two-year contract with the Orioles, but both first halves went poorly for him.
“More than anything, it’s kind of a pride thing for me,” he said. “It’s understanding and knowing what you’re capable of doing, and that’s being able to go out there and show what’s what, especially when you hear people talk about the beast of the East and it’s one of those things where you know if you’re healthy, you can go out there and get it done. I think that was the most frustrating for me. It was that I was obviously brought here to help the team win in those types of situations, and not being able to do that was tough for me.”
Gonzalez gets to enter a pennant race and pitch much closer to home.
“I’m excited, of course,” he said. “Obviously, I’m leaving great teammates. I think we had pretty much a good chemistry going here toward the end. It felt good, but it’s one of those things where I’m going to go to Texas and see what these guys are about over there. If they’re anything like Tommy (Hunter), I’m going to be all right.
“I’ve been hearing (trade) rumblings for a while, but I seriously didn’t wake up this morning thinking that. I was just coming to the ballpark and lay someone out in ping-pong.”
Would he have interest in re-signing with the Orioles as a free agent?
“I’d love to show them what I’m capable of doing, like I said, when healthy. Yeah, of course,” he replied.
“Everything about here is great. I liked everything having to do with it. Like I said, the only thing that I’m disappointed about is not being able to go out there and show what I’m capable of doing.”