Phillies' pitching plans, Gonzalez debuts Thursday

Phillies' pitching plans, Gonzalez debuts Thursday
February 24, 2014, 9:45 am
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The Phillies signed Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez last summer to a three-year, $12 million contract. (Photo: CSN)

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez will pitch in game action for the first time as a Phillie on Thursday.

Gonzalez, who defected from Cuba last year and signed with the Phillies in August, is scheduled to pitch two innings against the Toronto Blue Jays in a Grapefruit League game at Dunedin that afternoon.

(UPDATE: 3:45 p.m.: Gonzalez will not debut Thursday for the Phillies after all. He is dealing with an illness that could push his debut back to Saturday.)

Cliff Lee will start that game.

Gonzalez had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow in January 2012. He has pitched sparingly over the last two seasons because of the injury and a suspension which he was hit with after a failed attempt to defect.

The Phillies have taken a very methodical approach with Gonzalez since he joined the organization. He did not pitch an inning in the Florida State League last fall. He has basically spent the last six months conditioning his body and building strength. He started throwing bullpen sessions in mid-January.

Gonzalez, 27, has looked only so-so in early workouts with the Phils. Team officials will get a better read on him in game action. Gonzalez is a candidate for the fifth starter’s job, but could end up in the minor leagues if team officials believe he needs to build innings and experience.

Also notable, A.J. Burnett will make his Phillies debut Sunday in Clearwater when he starts against his former team, the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Here are the Phillies’ pitching plans for games this week:

Tuesday vs. intrasquad at Clearwater, noon
Jesse Biddle, 2 innings

Ethan Martin, 2

David Buchanan, 2

Justin DeFratus, 1

Luis Garcia, 1

Jeremy Horst, 1

Cesar Jimenez, 1

Shawn Camp, 1

Kenny Giles, 1

Wednesday vs. Toronto at Clearwater, 1 p.m.
Roberto Hernandez, 2

Jeff Manship, 2

Antonio Bastardo, 1

Brad Lincoln, 1 or 2

Jake Diekman, 1

Kevin Munson, 1

Phillippe Aumont, 1

Thursday vs. Toronto at Dunedin, 1 p.m.
Cliff Lee, 2 or 3

Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, 2 (scratched)

B.J. Rosenberg, 2

Mario Hollands, 1 or 2

Mike Stutes, 1

Friday vs. Detroit at Clearwater, 1p.m.
Kyle Kendrick, 2 or 3

Sean O’Sullivan, 2 or 3

Justin DeFratus, 1

Phillippe Aumont, 1

Luis Garcia, 1

Cesar Jimenez, 1

Saturday vs. Yankees at Tampa, 1 p.m.
Ethan Martin, 2 or 3

David Buchanan, 2 or 3

Kevin Munson, 1 or 2

Jeremy Horst, 1 or 2

Shawn Camp, 1

Kenny Giles, 1

Sunday vs. Pittsburgh at Clearwater, 1 p.m.
A.J. Burnett, 2 or 3

Jesse Biddle, 2 or 3

Jonathan Papelbon, 1

Antonio Bastardo, 1

Brad Lincoln, 1

Jake Diekman, 1