The White Sox pushed the right button when they signed Miguel Gonzalez to a minor league contract shortly before Opening Day. The 32-year-old right-hander, let go by the Baltimore Orioles because his velocity was slipping while he dealt with arm troubles, has bounced back with a flourish and could conceivably go to spring training as the Sox’ best right-hander in their rotation.
There’s no doubt Gonzalez is that now, with a 2.56 ERA in his last 10 starts, nine of which are of the quality variety. He didn’t begin his major league career with the Orioles until he was 28, and he is still arbitration-eligible for one more season and would pitch in 2017 with the motivation of entering free agency the following offseason.
Gonzalez wants that to happen in Chicago.
“I would love to come back – of course,’’ Gonzalez said. “Since Day 1 they have treated me well. They stuck with their word that I would have an opportunity to pitch here [after starting the season at AAA Charlotte] and I am really appreciative of that.’’
Gonzalez had averaged 10 wins in four season in Baltimore with ERAs of 3.25, 3.78, 3.23 and 4.91. When the Orioles, with whom he was a popular and respected teammate, released him, “it wasn’t easy, especially for my family. My wife, and my three-year-old daughter, we all had a good relationship with the Orioles.
“But now my wife is comfortable with the [players wives] here and that’s really the main thing for me. I’m a family guy and that’s what it’s all about. If my wife is happy, I am happy.’’
Eaton has the right stuff
Adam Eaton has a good shot at a Gold Glove after playing as well, perhaps better, than anyone in the American League in right field for most of the season. He’ll spend the bulk of September in center, though, which is not his strongest suit even though he was a finalist there in 2014, his first season with the Sox.
“We’ve had to use him in center out of necessity [with Avisail Garcia now playing in right],’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “In right field I haven’t seen anybody that’s better than him this year.
“In right he just gets better jumps. It just suits his eye better, reading balls of the bat. And his throws are better – he just seems to be on line. You never know why a guy has comfort in [a particular spot] but he is remarkably better in right.’’
The Gold Glove is something Eaton, who took a .284 average with 13 homers and 53 RBI into Tuesday’s game as a leadoff man, covets.
“We all talk in spring training about wanting to win a Gold Glove,’’ he said. “You work your but off to be in position to hopefully be in the top three and want to win every year.’’
A pain in the neck
Designated hitter Justin Morneau, who came out of Monday’s game with a stiff neck, was still hampered by it Tuesday and did not start. Ventura said Morneau might be back in the lineup Wednesday. Jose Abreu was the DH and Todd Frazier played first base.
The Sox made the Guiness Book of World Records when 1,122 dogs were in attendance as part of the team’s “Bark at the Park’’ prom