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Righty Gonzalez begins rehab at Clearwater

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PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez began a Minor League rehab assignment on Thursday with Class A Advanced Clearwater, pitching five innings in his first professional appearance in nearly two years.

Gonzalez reached 94 mph with his fastball and threw 69 pitches. He was charged with three runs on six hits, striking out one against two walks.

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Gonzalez is on the 60-day disabled list and needs to build arm strength after dealing with right shoulder tendinitis in Spring Training. But the fact that he's pitching in games is an encouraging sign for the organization. The Cuban originally agreed to a $48 million contract with the Phillies last July, but he ultimately signed a $12 million deal in August following concerns with his physical.

"It sounds like he's healthy," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said on Friday. "It sounds like the velocity is there, so that's different than what we saw in the spring three months ago. So that's a good sign. He must be healthy to be throwing that hard. Now it's just getting his games in, get his innings in and keep an eye on him."

Gonzalez struggled with his command on Thursday, but that might be a result of some mechanical adjustments he's working on.

"A little bit erratic with his control," Sandberg said. "He threw some changeups that were a quality pitch. But his control was off yesterday."

In other injury news, first baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf was reinstated from the 15-day DL (left oblique strain) and optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Thursday. He began the season on the DL, and Sandberg said Ruf still needs more at-bats before the Phillies consider promoting him.

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jalaymance. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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