New O’s closer Mike Gonzalez looked pretty relaxed at his locker just a few minutes ago. He handled his interview with a group of reporters probably better than his first two save chances.
Just like the fans, he was relieved when Ben Zobrist’s fly ball settled into Nick Markakisis’ glove last night to end a shaky bottom of the ninth.
“It’s definitely a monkey off my back and a good feeling to be able finish the way we finished and now come to Baltimore.
“I just wanted those three outs. It was huge (for me). First save with the team, first time in the AL. There were a lot of things going on with that game. Just getting that one out of the way, now I can take a deep breath and just be myself now.”
Maybe future saves will come “cleaner” as Dave Trembley calls it and with less drama.
With Atlanta last year, the 31-year-old Gonzalez was 5-4, 2.82 in 80 appearances. His .142 batting average against with runners on base in 2009 ranked 3rd in the Majors (min. 100 at bats).
Gonzalez said he felt like he was throwing well late in spring camp.
“I didn’t like the outcome the way it started, but I was pleased with the way I felt. I feel healthy, I feel good. There was a lot of progress I made.
“I have to adjust to the AL East. I don’t know any of these hitters. I have to figure out their tendencies. Go through it a couple of times and see what they’re about.”
After suffering the blown save in the opener, Gonzalez said he was chomping at the bit for his next chance.
“It was the longest 48 hours of my life. You want to get back out and redeem yourself and I was looking forward to that outing. “