A few minutes with Gonzalez and McLouth

Major League Baseball and T-Mobile have a deal in place that will give managers the option of using cell phones to contact the bullpen instead of the old dugout phones.

I can’t wait for Orioles manager Buck Showalter to start texting bullpen coach Bill Castro.

Castro probably would have expected an “LOL” last season when Showalter wanted Chris Davis to warm up in the 16th inning at Fenway Park.

Jumping topics here, did you know that Miguel Gonzalez didn’t lose back-to-back games with the Orioles in 2012? His personal losing streaks never exceeded one, which isn’t really a streak.

Gonzalez was 2-0 against the Red Sox and Yankees and 1-1 against the Blue Jays and Rays. No reason to make any adjustments this season. Right?

“I don’t want to change anything,” Gonzalez said Saturday on WBAL Radio. “I don’t want to do anything different. But if they want me to change something, then I’ll do whatever they tell me.”

Gonzalez won’t show up in Sarasota assuming that he’s got a spot waiting for him in the rotation.

“I think there’s always going to be competition and you’ve always got to be prepared for whatever is going to happen,” he said. “Obviously, I’ll do what I’ve always done, which is pitch and not worry about anything else. If I get another opportunity and stay in the rotation, that’s always going to be a plus for me.”

Nate McLouth explained Saturday why he wanted to stay with the Orioles.

“Where do I start?” he said.

Left field, I assumed, but then I realized he wasn’t referring to his position.

“It was a great experience all around, to being on a great team that exceeded pretty much everybody’s expectations, to being around a great group of guys in a great city and playing in front of some of the most unbelievable fan support I’ve ever seen in my life,” he said.

Manager Buck Showalter called McLouth during the Winter Meetings, which sped up negotiations.

“I was working out one morning,” McLouth said. “I kind of checked my phone midway through the workout for some reason and I saw that he called. I called him back and I was breathing hard and he said, ‘You don’t have to act like you’re working out. It’s OK. I know you’re a hard worker. You don’t have to fake it.’

“He just kind of reiterated that he enjoyed having me on the team and things like that, and he hoped something would get done. He wanted to make it personal and call me himself, and I appreciated it.”

I’m not sure how much stock you put in team chemistry, but McLouth is the latest player to point out it’s importance to the Orioles’ success.

“I think it’s a huge part of it,” he said. “A lot of times, coming to a new team, you get that new kid in school type of feeling. Kind of awkward. You don’t know anybody. I didn’t really know anybody on the team. I’m not sure I played with anybody that was on the team when I got called up. So that was definitely important, making somebody feel comfortable right off the bat, and that’s how I felt the day I walked into Tropicana Field, like I was accepted, like they were happy to have me. That’s something that might be kind of overlooked, but is very important.”

McLouth stole 12 bases in 13 attempts last year and is 99-for-115 in his career. Brady Anderson said McLouth is one of the best basestealers he’s ever seen, noting how the outfielder often beats throws easily while sliding feet-first, which is unusual.

It takes more than speed.

“I run well, but I don’t have blazing speed or anything like that,” McLouth said. “For me, in the video room, there are three or four guys in there who put together just wonderful scouting reports for us, and they go more in-depth than just pitches that the pitcher throws. A lot of things on his moves, on his times to the plate, certain pitches he throws in certain counts. With that information, along with Wayne Kirby at first base who’s really, really good at picking up little things that a pitcher may do to tip off his move to first or his move to home plate, you put those things together and you give yourself a little bit better chance.

“Like I said, I’m not one of the fastest guys in the league by any stretch of the imagination, but when you study things like that and take advantage of little hidden things that you have to dig to find, you can be a little bit more successful.”

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