SARASOTA, Fla. - No wonder today had a special feel for Orioles pitcher Miguel Gonzalez. He reminded reporters that he hadn't thrown in a major league exhibition game since 2007, when the Angels summoned him from minor league camp.
Gonzalez didn't make it to the Ed Smith Stadium complex last spring, and he didn't join an affiliate when the minor league season began in April. He was in limbo long before he joined the Orioles' rotation.
Gonzalez struck out two batters in two scoreless innings today.
"I tried to work on everything," said Gonzalez, who didn't sign with the Orioles last year until the first week of March. "Obviously, my split-finger wasn't there, so (Matt Wieters) only called it once and he went back to the fastball. That's just Wiety.
"Right now, we're just trying to work on throwing strikes and trying to get guys out as soon as possible."
Gonzalez didn't linger on the mound. He made pretty short work of the Phillies.
"That's what we try to do," he said. "We try to get in there and get out of there as soon as possible, so that's what we did.
"Just had fun. Big crowd today. A little windy. I wasn't thinking that it was going to be like that today, but I just went out there and tried to do the best that I could."
Freddy Galvis homered off Todd Redmond on a two-strike pitch in the eighth inning to reduce the Orioles' lead to 11-3. The tension mounts.
Pedro Strop retired the side in order in the sixth.
Earlier today, manager Buck Showalter was asked whether Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman could be heading to minor league camp sooner or later.
"I think as long as the innings are here and it benefits them to be there, they'll stay here," he replied. "I wouldn't say necessarily that they'll be part of that group going down there. There was some discussion about that.
"There's a fine line there about letting it go too far and the positive feeding frenzy takes over."
Showalter also was asked about Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland, who's been struggling.
"It's tough," he said. "You get a guy in Rule 5 and you get some things you like about him that he's shown, his track record and stuff. The last thing you want to do is when he comes in here is start tinkering and changing a lot of things. Before his last outing, Rick (Adair) had a couple things he wanted to do with him a little bit. He felt a little out of whack.
"I could tell he was a little frustrated. He's better than what he showed statistically, so to speak. I thought his last outing was a little better, so I'm anxious to see how he is his next time out. Got a couple of little things that they tweaked to get him back to where he was. This guy's a good pitcher. Look at him and (Zach) Clark, they have a very similar success rate. And Mac's a lot younger."
Update: Danny Valencia had an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning and Adam Russell recorded the last three outs in the Orioles' 12-3 victory over the Phillies.
Russell induced two ground balls and got a called third strike to end the game.