SARASOTA, Fla. -- Alex Gonzalez returned to the Orioles' lineup on Friday after undergoing an endoscopy earlier in the week.
Gonzalez, who had last played on March 15, underwent the procedure because doctors wanted to further evaluate something that came back in his blood work during his pre-Spring Training physical. The endoscopy revealed that Gonzalez has a lack of iron in his blood, but he is otherwise healthy. The 37-year-old will take iron pills to hopefully offset the issue.
"Everything's fine," he said. "They were looking at the inside of my stomach to see if it's OK and there's nothing serious, so I'm back in the lineup."
Gonzalez enters play Friday hitting .435 (10-for-23) for the spring and having recorded at least one hit in six of his last seven games prior to missing time this week. With the matter now seemingly behind him, the veteran will resume his quest Friday to land one of the club's Opening Day bench spots.
"Yeah, but it's for my health," he said when asked if he was disappointed to miss valuable playing time. "It's not an injury. It's nothing to worry [about]. I think you have to take care of your health first, but now I feel good. I'm back to playing."
Gonzalez added that he had never experienced decreased iron levels prior to this spring, and despite undergoing the procedure, he was not worried about seeing the test results. After all, he said, he wasn't feeling any of the symptoms doctors asked him about, such as fatigue or extreme lack of energy.
"I was in Venezuela playing every day before they signed me," Gonzalez said. "I came here to Spring Training, getting up early and playing all afternoon. Obviously, you feel tired, but I don't feel like it's something where I didn't want to come to the field. It's tiring for everybody. Everybody is kind of tired."
Tillman scratched; illness not considered serious
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles Opening Day starter Chris Tillman, dealing with a minor illness, was replaced by Miguel Gonzalez as the team's starting pitcher in Friday's Grapefruit League game against the Braves.
Tillman, who did not report to the facilities Friday morning, will likely pitch within the next couple of days, depending on when he feels better. Manager Buck Showalter, who said the club is hoping it's just a "24-hour thing", said Tillman's schedule will still be centered around pitching five days before the season opener and then taking the ball on Opening Day.
"He's still going to pitch five days from Opening Day, that'll be the priority," Showalter said. "If he just takes a couple strong work days then makes that start -- he had five innings his last time out -- he'll be fine."
As for Gonzalez, the righty had been slated to throw in a Triple-A game Friday, but he instead got the call against the Braves after the O's received word of Tillman's illness.
Going forward, the Orioles' current plan is to start Ubaldo Jimenez on Saturday against the Rays, Kevin Gausman on Sunday against the Pirates and Brian Matusz on Monday against the Red Sox.
Ayala arrives at O's complex to take physical
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles had not officially announced Luis Ayala's signing as of Friday's game against the Braves, but the right-hander was present at the Ed Smith complex, preparing to undergo a physical.
The club has not yet confirmed the impending deal.
"From what I understand," manager Buck Showalter said prior to the game, "he's going to take a physical, and we'll see how the physical is."
Assuming all goes well with Ayala's physical, the club plans to sign him to a Minor League deal. Though he will be extended an invitation to Spring Training in the process, Showalter added that Ayala will not be part of the current competition for the final bullpen spots, and will instead report to Twin Lakes, the club's Minor League complex.
Ayala went 1-1 with a 2.90 ERA over 37 relief appearances with the Braves last season after being traded to Atlanta by the Orioles on April 10.
Back with O's, Machado's debut up in the air
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Third baseman Manny Machado has rejoined the Orioles, taking an overnight flight back into Sarasota.
Machado arrived back in Florida early Friday morning after having his left knee re-examined in Los Angeles on Thursday by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Though all physical restrictions on Machado have been lifted, manager Buck Showalter said the team still has not set a specific date for his debut.
Whenever that debut does come, Machado will likely play exclusively in Minor League games so that they do not reset the date on his disabled list stint.