The ex-Oriole report: Gonzalez, Wieters and others off to strong starts in 2017 - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Paul Folkemer

The ex-Oriole report: Gonzalez, Wieters and others off to strong starts in 2017

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

During the Orioles’ five-game homestand that starts Friday, they’ll come face-to-face with two former teammates who are off to hot starts in 2017.

Tonight, right-hander Miguel Gonzalez is scheduled to start for the White Sox against the Orioles’ Wade Miley. Gonzalez, of course, broke into the majors with the Orioles in 2012 and was a key member of their rotation for four seasons. But after Gonzalez’s shaky and injury-plagued 2015 season and poor performance in 2016 spring training, and the club’s desire to cut payroll, the Orioles elected to release Gonzalez at the end of camp to save about $4 million on his contract.

If the Orioles could do it over again, they’d probably make a different choice. Gonzalez landed with the White Sox last year and posted a 3.73 ERA in 24 games (23 starts), a solid performance that would’ve helped an Orioles’ rotation that struggled for much of 2016. This year, Gonzalez has been even better. In five starts, he’s 3-1 with a 3.27 ERA, including two outings in which he pitched eight or more innings and allowed one or no runs.

After Gonzalez and the White Sox leave town this weekend, the regional rival Nationals will come to Baltimore on Monday, where the Orioles will be reunited with their longtime catcher, Matt Wieters.

Wieters, who ended his eight-year Orioles career by signing a one-year, $10.5 million contract (with a 2018 player option) in Washington, has been pounding the ball so far. Wieters has a .303 average, .924 OPS, four home runs and 12 RBIs in 22 games. He’ll be playing his first game at Camden Yards as a visitor.

Yes, there are plenty of recent ex-Orioles who are struggling or are completely out of the pro game. We’ll get to them in another installment. Today, prompted by the pending returns of Gonzalez and Wieters, here’s a look at eight other ex-Orioles — or at least guys that were in the organization recently — who are off to hot starts this season.

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