Gonzalez Proving Himself Again After Injuries

After breaking onto the scene in 2005, Ray Gonzalez suffered a setback in his progress with an arm injury. The past two years were tough for the talented right-hander and he worked his way back this year and stapled his name back on the prospect map pitching effectively and remaining healthy for the entire season with Lansing.

Lansing Lugnuts RHP Ray Gonzalez was moved up from Pulaski on May 20th to replace then injured RHP Zach Dials, and he hasn't left yet.

The Cuba native said he was moved up because he showed improvement on his change up. Gonzalez throws five pitches total, but his curveball and slider are his strike out pitches.

"Since I've been here I've just been working hard and everything has just come together," said 21-year-old Gonzalez. "All my pitches have been working."

The right-handed pitcher made twenty starts for Lansing and finished the season 9-7 with a 3.53 ETA. He shows good consistency and command over his pitches and his capable of locating each. He issued 30 walks in 114 innings, while striking out 71 batters.

"I'm happy with my performance," said Gonzalez. "I think I've had a pretty good season."

A good season in terms of adversity as well. Gonzalez went the entire season without missing a start. He did not suffer any injuries or a tired arm. This was important for a pitcher who missed time over the past two years with injuries and never enabled him to surpass rookie ball.

"Ray started in 20 games for us and filled in nicely," said Lugnuts manager Gary Cathcart of Dial's absence.

Gonzalez pitched 2005 and 2006 in Pulaski going 2-0 with a 1.63 ERA in just 27 2/3 innings in 2005 and 3-5 with a 4.26 ERA in 61 1/3 innings last year coming back from injury.

As the season comes to a close, Gonzalez is making plans to return to Tampa to work with his personal trainer during the off season. He wants to continue to improve on all of his pitches, but looks to focus mainly on his change up.

"If I can throw my change up for a strike at any count that will help me a lot," said Gonzalez.

Help him enough to start next year in Dunedin? That's Gonzalez's goal, to be placed there after spring training next year.

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