BALTIMORE -- Orioles pitcher Miguel Gonzalez said Thursday he declined an invitation to pitch for Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.
"Obviously this is more important than me going down there," said Gonzalez, who is coming off an impressive rookie campaign that started with him signing as a Minor League free agent in March. "This is my first big league Spring Training. I'll be focused on doing my stuff here first.
"It was a tough decision, but you always have to think about what's going to happen in the long run. So I think it's more important for me to be with the team."
Gonzalez said the Orioles didn't try to influence his decision one way or the other, although his family certainly did.
"My wife told me, 'Hey, I think it's more important for you to stay here,'" said Gonzalez, whose wife is four months pregnant with the couple's first child. "So I decided to stay."
Gonzalez didn't pitch in the winter leagues this year and has been among a group of Orioles working out with special assistant Brady Anderson in California. Gonzalez hopes it can help him stay strong and healthy in following up a 2012 season in which he went 9-4 with a 3.28 ERA in 18 games (15 starts).
"I think that's been helping out," said Gonzalez, who looked noticeably more muscular at the organization's minicamp Thursday afternoon. "I've never really done a workout in the offseason, and I think I will have positive things that will be coming for me this year."
Roberts doing 'good,' but still dealing with health issues
BALTIMORE -- Second baseman Brian Roberts has been working out at the Orioles' Spring Training facility in Sarasota, Fla., and while the organization remains cautiously optimistic that he will be able to stay healthy, it hasn't exactly been smooth sailing for the veteran this offseason.
"I wouldn't be completely honest if I said that [he hasn't had any health issues]," manager Buck Showalter said Thursday of Roberts, who has dealt with a concussion and hip surgery the past few seasons.
"He feels really good right now and he's working out. He will be here in a day or two. You all can ask him that same question."
Roberts is expected to be at Saturday's Fanfest event, which he missed last year because he was still dealing with post-concussion symptoms. The 35-year-old is entering the final year of a four-year, $40 million deal and hasn't played more than 60 games since 2009.
If healthy, Roberts is projected to be the team's Opening Day second baseman, although the Orioles have contingency plans in place if he ends up on the disabled list again. The team's 40-man roster also includes three players -- Ryan Flaherty, Alexi Casilla and Yamaico Navarro -- who can man second base.
Ownership praises approach by Duquette, Showalter
BALTIMORE -- While many Orioles fans have questioned the organization's lack of offseason activity, Louis Angelos, speaking as the ownership representative for managing partner Peter Angelos, took time Thursday morning to praise the efforts of executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter for staying the course.
"You don't want to trade the future or sacrifice that future for what's in the immediate," said Angelos, who held court with a group of reporters after Duquette's and Showalter's contract extensions were officially announced. "I think Orioles fans know the game really well, and they want sustained winning and they want to see guys come up through the system. You can get away from that and get distracted by a tantalizing free agent or a trade possibility in [R.A.] Dickey's case, for example. That was a long and considered internal dialogue that went on, but Dan has his vision, and it's right in sync with Buck's vision.
"When you extend both of them to 2018, it's not about the immediate. It's not a two-year extension or a three-year extension where you got the 'We got to win now [mind-set].' It promotes doing the right things to win over a 10-year period or a 20-year period. Let's have sustained competitive teams with players that are brought from within, so you draft and develop, and you supplement from the outside."
Duquette said Thursday morning that the club has received "umpteenth" trade proposals from other teams, but he hasn't been willing to part with the club's young players. While it's unlikely the Orioles will add the impact bat they wanted this winter, Duquette said given the choice, he'd prefer to have the pitching depth in the organization. The Orioles, who re-signed outfielder Nate McLouth as their biggest move, are still trying to sign another veteran starter before heading to camp next month.
"The notion that it hasn't been an eventful offseason, in many ways, you can interpret as good," Angelos said. "I know Mr. [Peter] Angelos has said, 'You guys want to do it? Let's go for it. What do you want to do?' And you can play all sides of that. But the response [from Duquette and Showalter] consistently has been, again with respect to Dickey -- tough call -- but we are going to stay with the program. We are going to keep bringing our guys up, and I think it's going to pay dividends over the long term."
Hendrickson hopes to land job with Orioles
BALTIMORE -- Former Oriole Mark Hendrickson pitched for the organization on Wednesday at the team's minicamp and will continue his tryout by throwing again Friday with the hope of latching on with the organization -- or another club -- for Spring Training.
The 38-year-old last pitched in the Majors in 2011, appearing in eight games with the Orioles and allowing seven runs and 15 hits in 11 innings. He also made 24 appearances at Triple-A Norfolk that season.
"At the end of the year when nobody called, I still felt like I had something left," said Hendrickson, who played in an amateur league near his York, Pa., home in 2012. "So I started making phone calls and it started with [Orioles manager Buck Showalter], what we talked about in 2011, about just changing and trying to create some excitement and different looks for what I can offer."
Hendrickson, who is 6-foot-9, has been tinkering with arm angles and is now using a sidearm delivery that he's picked up relatively quickly.
"I'm surprisingly very comfortable," Hendrickson said of the new delivery, which he has been working on with pitching coach Rick Adair since getting to Baltimore. "I tinkered with it a little bit last year, maybe in June, and it was kind of all over the place and I figured, 'You know what? Coming into a new year, a new spring, just buy into it mentally.' I started throwing the first of December and picked it up really quickly.
"[I'm] a 38-year-old mind, but a 20-year-old sponge right now as far as being open and willing to say, 'Hey, teach me whatever.' Let's work at this and see how good I can be doing something a little different."
Hendrickson pitched part of three seasons with the Orioles, going 8-11 with a 4.80 ERA in 113 games. A well-liked veteran, Hendrickson admitted Thursday that while he never retired, throwing with a traditional motion had gotten a little stale.
"It's kind of run its course, which is fine," Hendrickson said, "but ultimately for wanting to have a career is just being open to change, and that's what I tell young people, because ultimately if you want to be in this game for a long time, you are going to have to adapt. And for me, it's was just a matter of saying, 'Hey, let's buy into it, let's see how good I can be.' I was just encouraged by the excitement I had, by the excitement Rick had and also, hopefully, Buck. ... Hopefully there's excitement there."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.