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Orioles get good start from Gonzalez in 11-2 win


Orioles get good start from Gonzalez in 11-2 win

TAMPA, Fla. –After Buck Showalter’s warning earlier this week that there may be more competition for Orioles starting pitchers, Miguel Gonzalez faced the New York Yankees with additional pressure.

Two of Gonzalez’s previous starts were awful, allowing 13 runs on 15 hits in two innings. His spring ERA of 22.24 couldn’t go any higher, could it?

It didn’t, and fell to 14.90.

Gonzalez, who was presumed to be one of the five starters earlier this month, now faces competition from Tyler Wilson and Mike Wright, both of whom delivered strong outings this week.

Wilson threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Chris Tillman on Tuesday and Wright five shutout innings on Thursday.

While Gonzalez has a track record, he also had a jagged end to 2015.

Last spring, manager Buck Showalter went through a spring filled with uninspiring starts from Bud Norris. Showalter professed confidence in Norris, who had won 15 games the year before, but it evaporated quickly.

Gonzalez, whose attitude Showalter admires, didn’t have the same recent track record, but a few good years before that.

He does have an option, and the Orioles aren’t afraid of making bold moves. Last year, they did option Wei-Yin Chen to Frederick for a start to keep him fresh and away from Toronto and Boston.

Gonzalez’s performance was much better, allowing two runs on four hits in four innings as the Orioles beat the New York Yankees 11-2 before 10,937 at Steinbrenner Field on Friday night.

“His command was a lot better. Had a good idea,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Thought he had a good idea of where he was throwing the ball tonight. Split was better. He was actually throwing it more. He hadn’t been throwing it a lot.”

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Mark Trumbo drove in four runs with a three-run home run and a single, Manny Machado had four RBIs on a double and two singles.

After that awful start where the Orioles didn’t win any of their first 12 Grapefruit League games, they’ve now improved and won five and tied one of their last eight. Winning their first road game and scoring a spring high, the Orioles are now 5-12-3.

Showalter likes playing night games, and thinks that’s helping his team.

“It’s that time. We’ve still got two weeks here. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’ve said it a lot, you play 7 o’clock, 6 o’clock games, you get crispness, you just do. The wind’s not blowing out, the elements, it’s more like a major league game. The other ones, you’ve got to weigh so many variables,” Showalter said.

Gonzalez had a 4-0 lead before he began, and he got a 1-2-3 first, and in the second, Didi Gregorius’ two-run single cut the lead to 4-2.

“You want to see guys getting after it and being aggressive and making plays,” Gonzalez said.

He allowed one hit in the third, and finished with a perfect fourth. Gonzalez struck out one and walked one.

“Our offense was great today, defense does that fantastic job they’ve been doing. Obviously, I was just focused out there, not trying to do too much, and Caleb [Joseph] called a great game. That was basically it,” Gonzalez said.

It was a start that Gonzalez desperately needed.

“I think we all do. We all do at some point. You want to feel confident going towards the season. We have a couple more days. We’re not counting, but it’s definitely good to have this type of outing,” he said.

Dylan Bundy pitched a perfect fifth, and Odrisamer Despaigne three scoreless innings with just one hit.

“I thought Dylan was good again. That was the first time we did that with one day off. It was good to see him carry over what he had been doing,” Showalter said.

This was the longest outing for Despaigne, who was acquired from San Diego just before spring training.

“He’s a guy who has a lot of different pitches, different arm angles. He’s into a league he hasn’t been in, in a lot of ways. I’m trying to give him the benefit. He’s been as advertised and he’s competing for a spot on our roster. He’s got a chance,” Showalter said.

NOTES: Showalter said he didn’t expect Xavier Avery (hip) to be ready for Saturday’s game in Port Charlotte. Julio Borbon will be brought over from minor league camp. … Hyun Soo Kim will play on Saturday.

MORE ORIOLES: Kim says that talking with Buck helped him

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Orioles round out starting pitching rotation, finalize 4-year contract with Alex Cobb

USA Today Sports

Orioles round out starting pitching rotation, finalize 4-year contract with Alex Cobb

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Alex Cobb's comfort and familiarity with the AL East was the deciding factor in his decision to sign with the Baltimore Orioles.

"They used the AL East and the success I've had in it to their advantage," the 30-year-old right-hander said Wednesday after finalizing a $57 million, four-year contract. "They kept challenging me with it and I love the challenge of pitching in this division and they know that over the times we talked. They did a really good job of making me feel like this is where I need to be."

Cobb gets $14 million in each of the first three seasons and $15 million in 2021, and he would earn a $500,000 bonus in each year he pitches 180 innings. Baltimore will defer $6.5 million from this year's salary and $4.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He gets $2 million of the deferred money on Nov. 30, 2022, and $1.8 million annually on Nov. 30 from 2023-32. If he doesn't pitch at least 130 innings in 2020, an additional $5.25 million of the final's year salary would get deferred, payable $1.75 million annually on Nov. 30 from 2033-35.


Cobb has a full no-trade this year, then can list 10 teams from 2019-21 that he cannot be dealt to without his consent.

He had spent his entire six-season big league career with Tampa Bay and was the last big-name starting pitcher available in a slow-moving free agent market. He joined Andrew Cashner and Chris Tillman, who were signed last month, in a revamped rotation that includes holdovers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman.

Cobb was 12-10 with a 3.66 ERA in 29 starts last season. He pitched 179 1/3 innings in his first full year back after missing nearly two seasons because of Tommy John surgery.

He had turned down the Rays' $17.4 million qualifying offer in November, and Baltimore pursued him from the start of free agency.

"They didn't stop bothering me the whole offseason," Cobb said. "They were very persistent, and I think that you notice that confidence they have in you just by the way they speak to you and the questions you ask and not questioning anything that's gone on. Everyone's got flaws that they come with and potential things you could really harp on that might not be your strong suit, but they never went down that avenue. They always told me how much they like certain aspects of what I do on and off the field, and just kept repeating how well I fit in here."


Cobb is 48-35 with a 3.50 in six big league seasons. Baltimore will lose its third-highest draft pick, currently No. 51, and the Rays get an extra selection after the first round as compensation.

Jose Mesa Jr. was designated for assignment Wednesday to clear a roster spot.

Baltimore opens on March 29 at home against Minnesota, but Cobb won't be ready to pitch then. He has agreed to be optioned to a minor league affiliate to help build up innings.

"I'm going to be pushing it as quick as I can," Cobb said. "That's going to be up to them. They've invested in me for a four-year period and as much as we know how much every game matters even early in April, we're going to have to look out for the overall future of this whole thing and whole contract and whatever they determine to be the way to protect me and my feedback from the bullpens I'm going to be throwing here in the next few days will probably determine the timeline."

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

USA Today Sports

Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A person familiar with the negotiations says pitcher Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract.

The deal includes performance bonuses, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the deal had not yet been announced.

Tillman was 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 19 starts and five relief appearances last year. He would be the second starter added by the Orioles in the past week after right-hander Andrew Cashner.

Tillman likely would join right-handers Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Cashner in the rotation.

The 29-year-old right-hander lives in Sarasota and had been working out at the Orioles' facility before spring training. Manager Buck Showalter watched Tillman throw and was impressed.

Tillman began last season on the disabled list with right shoulder stiffness.

"Better than he did last year at this time. I think he's got the chance to pitch well for somebody this year," Showalter said. "A lot of the challenges he had last year -- this time last year -- aren't there. Somebody's going to reap the benefits."

Tillman's is 73-55 with a 4.43 ERA in nine major league seasons, all with the Orioles. He won 16 games in both 2013 and 2016.

"He's a guy when he's healthy you can bank on him giving you 200 innings and keeping his ERA between a 3 and a 4," Gausman said. "That in the AL East is always going to be very valuable."