Forget what the standings say. For Miguel Gonzalez, Wednesday’s game will carry plenty of meaning.
“It’s a big day,” Gonzalez said. “Finish strong. And then start working hard for next season.”
Gonzalez, 32, will make his 23rd and final start when he takes the mound against the Rays. The outing will mark the end of a busy season for the five-year veteran, who was released by the Baltimore Orioles at the end of spring training and signed a minor-league deal with the Sox one day before the season opener.
After a stint in Class AAA Charlotte, Gonzalez earned a spot at the back end of the Sox’s rotation. He outlasted John Danks and Mat Latos, who were released, and Erik Johnson, who was traded to San Diego.
Gonzalez has recorded 10 quality starts in his past 12 outings. He is 4-8 with a 3.98 ERA.
This offseason, Gonzalez and his family will travel to Florida as he begins his offseason training program. He hopes to return to the Sox in 2017.
“I like the team,” Gonzalez said. “We have good chemistry here. We’ve got to build on the good side, everything we did, and just keep moving forward.”
Adam Eaton returned to the lineup after missing three games because of a sore hip and whiplash that he sustained when he crashed into the outfield wall Friday in Cleveland.
With 152 games played this season, Eaton trails only Jose Abreu (154) and Todd Frazier (153) on the Sox.
“It’s pretty easy to pack it in at this point and sit on the bench and cheer on the team,” Eaton said. “But I want to get back out there and finish this year playing. I think you owe it to the city. You owe it to the fans. You owe it to your own teammates to finish this season off.”
Robin Ventura said he was not ready to experiment with funky lineups as the season winds down.
“Not yet,” Ventura said. “There are some guys that are still looking for personal things, and you want to make sure you’re respectful of that.”