Miguel Gonzalez pushing for rotation spot (updated)

The Orioles recalled Miguel Gonzalez from Triple-A Norfolk yesterday - he was scratched about an hour before his scheduled start for the Tides - because they needed a long reliever for today’s game against the Indians.

He might be needed in the rotation later this week.

Gonzalez must stay with the Orioles, no matter his role. He’s tossed four shutout innings in relief of left-hander Brian Matusz, allowing two hits, walking two and striking out five. He’s thrown 66 pitches, 12 fewer than Matusz in the same amount of innings.

The Orioles continue to trail the Indians 5-2, but Gonzalez has kept them in the ballgame.

Gonzalez fanned the last three batters he faced in the eighth after Shelley Duncan’s leadoff double, on another ball that Ryan Flaherty couldn’t run down in left-center field, and a Casey Kotchman’s walk. He disposed of Lou Marson on a nasty splitter, freezing him as the ball caught the outside corner. He fired four straight 93 mph fastballs at Aaron Cunningham before striking him out to end the inning.

Gonzalez would be valuable to the team in long relief, but his role might need to be expanded. He posted a 1.61 ERA at Norfolk. It wasn’t a fluke. He’s got good stuff. He commands the fastball. He gets hitters out. That puts him ahead of a lot of guys in this organization.

Instant update: Of course, Gonzalez gives up a run after I file this entry. Asdrubal Cabrera doubled with one out in the ninth and scored on Jason Kipnis’ broken-bat single.

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