Gonzalez likely to pitch during season's first series

Showalter likes O's starter's matchup with Rays, outlook for remainder of first month

Gonzalez likely to pitch during season's first series

SARASOTA, Fla.-- Miguel Gonzalez will likely pitch in the first series of the regular season against the Tampa Bay Rays, manager Buck Showalter said on Sunday.

"We're leaning that way," Showalter said. "It kind of slots him out the rest of the month where he should be. Like I say, we've got a rare opportunity with playing in our division for as much as we do, and the track record our starters have there in different venues against different teams, and kind of take advantage of that." 

Gonzalez is 3-1 with a 2.64 ERA in five starts at Tropicana Field. Showalter said earlier this spring that Wei-Yin Chen would probably pitch among those first three games as well, and Chris Tillman has been widely speculated as the club's Opening Day starter.

Gonzalez started against the Twins during the Orioles' 6-5 loss Sunday, allowing five runs on seven hits while striking out five and walking one in 5 2/3 innings.

"I did [settle in]," Gonzalez said. "Towards the end, Tillman talked to me and told me I was throwing down a little bit on my offspeed, and then I speeded up and I felt a lot better. But the guys weren't getting good swings after the third inning, so I felt pretty good at the end."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.