Rangers BBTN: LHP Michael Gonzalez

At 3:30 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, I had not yet met new Texas Rangers left-handed reliever Michael Gonzalez, who was acquired from Baltimore on Wednesday. By 3:40 p.m., I was fired up to see him pitch for the first time in a Rangers uniform.

“You’re talking about a difference from worst to first in a matter of not even 24 hours," Gonzalez said in The Warm-Up Show for Rangers Baseball Tonight on the Texas Rangers ESPN Radio Network. "Obviously, it’s a great feeling. Knowing you’re not going to be in the playoffs ... It’s one of those things, you try to work on things and try to get better in different situations. But now, man, getting into the mix, it’s a whole different mindset. You try to do our homework real quick. It’s 3.5 games ahead. We’re right in the mix. No better place to be.”

This season, Gonzalez made 49 relief appearances for the Orioles, posting a 2-2 record with a 4.27 ERA. Lefties are batting .211 against him this season and .212 during his career. He has allowed runs in just one of his last 19 appearances.

Best of all for Gonzo, perhaps, is that he is back in his home state. He grew up in the Houston area and played college ball at San Jacinto College. Gonzalez watched the Rangers, Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves when he was a kid.

He greatly admired Nolan Ryan and still does.

“Nolan Ryan’s the man, bro. He’s the man back then. He’s the man now,” Gonzalez emphatically stated. “I’ve always been a big fan of his. He’s everything a pitcher should be.”

Gonzalez is one of many men that manager Ron Washington can choose from in the bullpen. There are 10 relievers (including long man/spot starter Scott Feldman), but Gonzo is one of just two lefties joining Darren Oliver.

As Richard Durrett indicated in a recent blog post, Boston left-handed hitters Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez are a combined 2-for-15 with seven strikeouts vs. Gonzalez.

In addition to talking about the trade and Nolan Ryan, Gonzo expresses why he was disappointed in his time with Baltimore, the impact of Andy Pettitte, the kind of pitcher he is and more. Listen to The Warm-Up Show for Rangers Baseball Tonight on the Texas Rangers ESPN Radio Network.