The path of Miguel Gonzalez to the Major Leagues has been one full of determination. In 2004 Gonzalez was signed by the Anaheim Angels as an amateur free agent. In 2008 he was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the Rule 5 draft. The following year he underwent Tommy John surgery and would end up sitting out two seasons recovering from that and a knee injury. Early this year the Baltimore Orioles offered the 28-year old a chance to revive his career by signing him to a minor league contract after seeing him pitch for a Mexican League team.
After posting a 3-2 record with a 1.61 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 44.2 innings pitched for the Norfolk Tides (AAA) Gonzalez was called up to the Orioles. With three relief appearances under his belt Gonzalez made his first start at the Major League level on Friday against the Los Angeles Angels, and did so with a special piece of equipment.
While in the Angels minor league system Miguel Gonzalez was a teammate of pitcher Nick Adenhart, who was tragically killed in a car accident by a drunk driver in 2009. During spring training two years prior to his passing Adenhart gave Gonzalez one of his gloves, which he has kept to this day.
“I’ve been taking it with me every time to the road,” Gonzalez said of the glove. “I’ve always had it with me. I used it once in a while [in practice], but I try to keep it there with me all the time. I thought it was great to do it today.”
“We were pretty close,” Gonzalez said of Adenhart. “I’m with him in my heart and obviously their family, I’m with them, too. It wasn’t an easy thing for them.”
Gonzalez was a winner in his first start and had an impressive outing. He went 7 innings, allowing 3 hits, 2 walks, and just 1 run while striking out 6 in a 100-pitch effort.
It was fitting Miguel Gonzalez’s first start and victory came as a member of the Baltimore Orioles, the Major League team from the state Nick Adenhart was born. It was also fitting they came against the Angels, the team who signed Gonzalez as a rookie and the team his friend once pitched for, and in the stadium where Adenhart made his last big league appearance. To make the night even more special Gonzalez grew up in nearby San Fernando and had several friends and family in attendance.
“I’m a fighter, and I’ve been doing well all around,” Gonzalez said. “Family and friends were all there for me. After all the ups and downs I’ve had, I was just glad to help out the team.”