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Ex-Winder Gonzalez getting serious shot at left field job

Citizen Staff Writer



Colorado outfielder Carlos Gonzalez put on a show for 10 games as a Tucson Sidewinders during the 2007 season.

The Rockies hope the curtain doesn’t fall on the youngster and force him back to the minor leagues this season.

Gonzalez is being given every opportunity to stay with the Rockies when they break camp. They acquired the 23-year old in a trade with Oakland in November.

“We have studied him; now we want to watch him play for awhile,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “We want to watch him run some balls down, throw the ball, run the bases and swing the bat. Then we will have the opportunity to evaluate that and make any changes we deem are necessary.

“He has got some legitimate power, has a very dynamic swing to generate bat speed and squares the balls up. There are a lot of things (to) like.”

Gonzalez is struggling this spring, but he was unstoppable in his stint with Tucson two years ago.

The outfielder reached base in nine of his 10 games as the top prospect in the D’backs organization in 2007 before being traded to the Athletics.

During Gonzalez’s stint at Tucson Electric Park, he had 13 hits, five doubles, a homer and six walks.

The Rockies are looking for that type of production from him.

“I think I have a good swing if I make good contact,” Gonzalez said. “It is more a matter of being patient. Sometimes when we feel comfortable at the plate we get aggressive and hit the ball far.”

Gonzalez is battling Seth Smith and Scott Podsednik, among others, for the job in left field.

A poor start is not good, especially considering he hit .242 in 302 at-bats last year with Oakland.

“I played winter ball. We take that serious. It is a big deal,” Gonzalez said. “We go over there to be a better player and take care of our weaknesses. I need to take more walks, not get a lot of strikeouts. That is what I was working on. It is trying to get a better pitch to hit and concentrating on my strike zone.”

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