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Phillies eager to explore Gonzalez's potential

Phillies eager to explore Gonzalez's potential

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Phillies eager to explore Gonzalez's potential

PHILADELPHIA -- If right-hander Severino Gonzalez ever makes the big leagues, he can thank one of his countrymen for a little help.

Gonzalez, who won the Paul Owens Award as the organization's Pitcher of the Year, is from Panama, and had the opportunity in Spring Training to meet Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz. Chooch took Gonzalez out to eat often and offered plenty of advice during those dinners.

"Carlos Ruiz is kind of like a father to me," Gonzalez said through a translator Tuesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

Gonzalez, 20, went a combined 7-5 with a 2.00 ERA in 25 games (14 starts) this season with Class A Lakewood, Class A Clearwater and Double-A Reading. In 103 2/3 innings, he walked 22 and struck out 119.

Gonzalez walked nine in 135 1/3 innings in the Venezuelan Summer League in 2011-12, which means he has walked just 31 batters in 239 innings in his professional career.

"It's a gift, a God-given gift," he said of his control. "I've always had it."

"His fastball can go both ways," Phillies assistant general manager Benny Looper said. "He cuts it and he sinks it. In a sense, he's trying to emulate Mariano [Rivera] and his cutter. He looks underdeveloped. He's going to get bigger and stronger. He can really pitch. He's fun to watch. He's real competitive on the mound. He doesn't mind throwing inside. He pitches like a veteran. He has three or four different pitches, throws them in any count. Throws a lot of strikes. He had a very good year last year in Venezuela, and he just continued that this year. He pitched well wherever we've thrown him."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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