3/1/2014 5:16 P.M. ET
Gonzalez bemoans results, but feels good after debut
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Man of Mystery finally took the mound Saturday afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Ever since the Phillies and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez originally agreed to a $48 million contract in July, there has been plenty of interest in the Cuban right-handed pitcher. Scouting reports said his fastball sat in the mid-90s. They said he was a solid, middle-of-the-rotation starter. Even after Gonzalez ultimately signed a $12 million deal in August following concerns with his physical, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Gonzalez had "great stuff," and, "we think he can be pretty special."
Since then, the Phillies have made an effort to temper expectations.
There is much more to learn about Gonzalez following his Phillies and Grapefruit League debuts in a 4-0 loss to the Yankees. He allowed two hits, one run, walked four and struck out two in 1 2/3 innings. His fastball hit 93 mph once, but otherwise sat in the 89-91 mph range. He showed some quality offspeed pitches, particularly his breaking ball, but couldn't command his fastball.
But Gonzalez had not pitched in a live game in nearly two years, so nerves, rust and fatigue could have been a factor.
"It's been a while," he said through a translator.
"When his fastball was down, it looked like it was a quality pitch," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He threw some good changeups in fastball counts, and he threw some good breaking pitches. Whether he got a little tired or started to labor a little bit, he was up with the fastball, resulting in some walks. The pitches he did throw for strikes showed some quality to them."
Minor League players Corban Joseph and Mason Williams went 0-for-4 against Gonzalez. Big leaguers Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, Brian McCann, Brian Roberts, Francisco Cervelli, Kelly Johnson and Ichiro Suzuki went 2-for-3 with four walks.
"I'm not happy at all," Gonzalez said about his velocity. "I'm not satisfied at all. I believe I have some more in the tank. It should be coming around."
"I thought that first inning that was some of the best pop that we've seen from the fastball this spring, especially ones down," Sandberg said. "I'm just seeing the progress. I didn't know what to expect. I thought today it was coming out in the first inning. That was more velocity than I've seen on sides."
Gonzalez had bone spurs removed from his right elbow in January 2012. He also has had some tightness in his arm this spring. But the Phillies and Gonzalez have said throughout the spring he is healthy and there are no issues.
"I have been working a lot this week, and my arm feels fine," Gonzalez said. "So it's fine. ... It's a great first time. I felt good. I felt strong. For the first time, I wasn't as sharp as I wanted to be. There were a couple of pitches I left up. Pretty much, for the first time, I felt good.
"What I need to do is just get my timing back and keep on pitching. It will come along. The more I pitch, the better I will feel."
Late last season, the Phillies expected Gonzalez to immediately join the rotation, but he might not be ready. And with Cole Hamels, Jonathan Pettibone and Ethan Martin injured or behind schedule because of shoulder issues, there is an opportunity for him.
Buchanan takes impressive spring into first start
TAMPA, Fla. -- Phillies right-hander David Buchanan has been impressive early in Spring Training.
Buchanan, whom the organization selected in the seventh round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, allowed one hit and struck out three in two scoreless innings during the Phillies' Saturday afternoon 4-0 loss to the Yankees in a Grapefruit League game at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
He struck out Derek Jeter and Brian Roberts in the first.
"That was definitely an experience I'm going to mark down in the books," Buchanan said. "Throwing against the Yankees by itself is an accomplishment for me, but especially Derek doing what he's doing ... it was a blessing for me to be here. I had a blast doing it, playing with these guys here. Really good time."
Buchanan is worth watching as the spring progresses, if for no other reason than the Phillies are short on starting pitching depth with Cole Hamels, Jonathan Pettibone and Ethan Martin injured or behind schedule with shoulder issues. There could be an opportunity for him at some point.
He said he isn't thinking about it.
"Coming up, I used to worry about that kind of stuff," he said. "If a guy was hurt or a guy was doing well, if I was doing good or I was doing bad, if I was going to get called up or if I was going to get sent down -- I used to worry about that kind of stuff. I talked to Domonic Brown a lot coming up, he was kind of a mentor to me, just about that kind of stuff. That's one of the first things he told me: 'You can't worry about that kind of stuff. Those things will take care of itself.' If I can continue to go out there and get outs and prove myself, when my time comes, my time comes."
Said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg: "He's been impressive since Day 1 for me."
Shoulder strain keeps Martin out at least three weeks
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies right-hander Ethan Martin suffered a significant setback this week when an MRI exam revealed he has a strained right shoulder capsule and triceps.
He will not throw for at least three weeks.
"Obviously, the best news would be nothing," said Martin, rated by MLB.com as the Phillies' No. 9 prospect in 2013. "But it's not surgery. Just rest it, rehab it and get back out there."
The injury leaves the Phillies' starting pitching depth much thinner than anticipated. Cole Hamels is behind schedule after feeling discomfort in his left shoulder in November. Jonathan Pettibone also is behind schedule after experiencing a recurrence of a shoulder issue he had last season.
Hamels set to face hitters after second 'pen session
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Cole Hamels took another step forward Saturday with his second bullpen session of the spring.
"Everything felt really good," he said at Bright House Field. "My pitches are really coming along. I'm really able to execute down in the zone. I know that's something Bob [McClure, pitching coach] preaches to everybody. I know I'm pretty good at doing that, so to get into my second bullpen and execute down in the zone, correct pitches within a pitch, having the control, it feels great."
Hamels, who has felt discomfort in his left shoulder, said he expects to face hitters in a live batting-practice session next week.
The Phillies hope that if Hamels misses time at the beginning of the season, it will be only a start or two. The Phillies do not need a fifth starter until April 14, which is 13 games into the season, so they could go with a four-man rotation if he can return by then.
The Phillies asked right fielder Marlon Byrd to wear the name "Iverson" on the back of his jersey during batting practice in honor of former Philadelphia 76ers star Allen Iverson, who had his No. 3 retired Saturday night in Philadelphia. Byrd wears No. 3 for the Phillies.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.