When we last saw Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, he was walking off the mound in spring training, being escorted by then manager Ryne Sandberg and a Phillies trainer. It wasn't the first time Phillies fans had seen that, as Gonzalez has had various injuries in his short time with the team. That fact shouldn't really surprise anybody, since Gonzalez was damaged goods when the Phillies signed him. At first, he was going to get millions more from either the Phillies or another major league team, but when all was said and done, the contract shrank considerably, because of medical concerns.
The right shoulder inflammation that Gonzalez, 28, was diagnosed with this Spring kept him from pitching in a game until mid-August when he started a rehab assignment with the Gulf Coast League Phillies. Gonzalez made four starts with the Little Phillies, throwing four innings in his last outing last Thursday. Over 11 shutout innings in the GCL, Gonzalez has allowed seven hits, has walked four and has struck out 10. Opponents are hitting .184 off of him and he has pitched better with each start.
The big test will come Tuesday when Gonzalez will start for Lehigh Valley against Pawtucket. With Alec Asher going to the majors and Jesse Biddle hitting the DL, Gonzalez will get his chance to pitch at Triple-A. He'll be on a pitch count - probably around 70 pitches - and he'll be watched closely in the start. If all goes well, he could make another start for Lehigh Valley on Sunday, the penultimate game of the regular season for the IronPigs.
After that, who knows?
The Phillies could just keep him pitching at the complex in Clearwater until sending him to Winter Ball, or they could bring him to the majors and get a start or two from him there. Gonzalez was removed from the 40-man roster last Spring, so he would need to be readded to the 40-man roster, but they would need to clear room for him. There would be some moves that the Phillies could make to clear a spot, or even a couple if they needed them, but whether they would want to make a move to add Gonzalez remains to be seen. It could also depend on how well he pitches with Lehigh Valley in his starts there, too.
Gonzalez is signed through next season, when he is set to earn $4-million from the Phillies. He has already received a $2-million signing bonus and $3-million for both 2014 and 2015 from his three-year, $12-million deal with the Phillies that he signed in August of 2013. Gonzalez pitched in six games for the Phillies last season, throwing 5 1/3 innings, posting a 6.75 ERA on nine hits and three walks. He struck out five batters and was 0-1 on the season.