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Gonzalez has strong chance to be long man

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Edgar Gonzalez drove more than 2,200 miles to Kissimmee from Hermosillo, Mexico, for Spring Training, and he hopes to be able to be in Houston when the season begins on Sunday night.

The veteran right-hander, signed out of the Mexican League last year, allowed three runs and four hits while throwing 45 pitches over three innings in the Astros' 6-2 loss to the Mets on Wednesday in his final spring audition for a spot in the bullpen as long reliever.

He's got a good shot to make the club, which must trim one more relief pitcher. In 13 innings this spring, Gonzalez allowed five runs, 11 hits, two walks and struck out 10.

"I feel great," he said. "I'm so happy, because so far it's my best spring in my whole career. I just say thank you to the Houston Astros because they gave me the chance, the opportunity to be here the whole way. I feel like I'm ready for the season."

Gonzalez has been on an Opening Day roster only twice before - 2007-08 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He's still waiting to hear from the Astros if he's on the club, but teammate Bud Norris has been firmly in his corner.

"I talked to Norris like two or three days ago and he told me, 'You know what, Gonzo? You've got a good chance to make the long reliever,'" he said. "'Last year at this point you were home in Monterrey, and right now you're here to try to make the team and I think you're going to make it.' I was so excited when he told me. It's Norris; it's not the big guys. I'm so happy to be here and all the things happening right now. I can't wait for the season to start."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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