Alex Gonzalez continues to make a favorable impression

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles are making their only trip to Dunedin today to play the Blue Jays. Miguel Gonzalez gets the start.

Other Orioles scheduled to pitch include Alfredo Aceves, Steve Johnson and Brad Brach.

Gonzalez limped to his locker yesterday morning with a huge ice pack wrapped around his lower left leg. Reporters drifted over to his locker to make sure that Gonzalez hadn't re-injured his shin after being drilled by a line drive.

Nope. Gonzalez had gotten his daily treatment and was bored in the trainers room, so he came back into the clubhouse shortly before it closed to the media. He found it highly amusing that the wrap brought so much attention to him.

I suggested that he start wearing glasses like Kevin Gausman, who dresses next to him each morning, and really amp up the attention.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters yesterday that Adam Jones will travel to Dunedin, though he hadn't broken the news to his center fielder. Talk about a surprise. The nucleus guys don't normally make these trips, but Jones left camp Tuesday for the birth of his son and didn't play the previous day in Bradenton.

Infielder Alex Gonzalez is used to the bus rides. He's a non-roster guy trying to win a spot as a utility player. His 15 seasons in the majors don't carry a lot of weight these days.

Gonzalez, 37, walked and singled yesterday, making him 10-for-23 with a double, two home runs and six RBIs in nine games. Known more for his glove, he's been playing shortstop and third base.

"I feel very good in spring training so far," said Gonzalez, who appeared in 65 games with the Brewers over the past two seasons. "I'm trying to do the best I can every time, whether they have me at third base or shortstop. I want to show the guys that I can still play. I feel good, I'm healthy and I have to show the people that I can still play. It's been very good so far.

"I'm coming here to show these guys that I can still play defense, can swing the bat. Right now, I've been hitting very good. I've been waiting for my pitch and try to get on base for the guys and drive in runs. I keep working hard in the cage and then take it to the game. I think that's the key and I've been doing very well this spring. I hope I keep doing it and see what happens, if I make the team."

Gonzalez is trying to unseat Alexi Casilla, another non-roster invitee, as the favorite to claim the utility job. Perhaps a spot could open if Manny Machado goes on the disabled list, which is more likely to happen with his knee examination pushed back until later this month.

"When you have the track record that Alex has, you just trying to see if he's maintaining those skills because if that's the case, he's easy to trust," Showalter said. "He knows how to play. You trust him defensively especially. He presents a lot of options for you defensively, which you're always looking for.

"He kind of picked us as much as we picked him. I know this is something he'd like to do. We'll see where it takes him. We've got some other people doing well, too, so he's going to make it tough on us."

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