Gonzalez ready for strong 2012 season

Posted by on April 23, 2012 in 2012 Spring Training, Danny Gonzalez

SS Danny Gonzalez

At the end of the 2011 season, Revs manager Andy Etchebarren said he sat down with management and front office personnel and figured out who the team wanted to pursue on the Road Warriors’ end-of-season roster.

Etch’ chose three players.

“I wanted Javier, Thomas and Gonzalez,” Etchebarren said Monday.

Javier is right-hander Omar Javier, who is projected as the team’s No. 5 starter to begin the season after posting a 5.65 ERA in eight starts and three relief appearances for the Road Warrios last year. Thomas is Adam Thomas, the Revs’ set-up man who collected 17 saves and put together a 1.73 ERA a year ago for the Road Warriors.

And, finally, Gonzalez is infielder Danny Gonzalez, who returned to the Atlantic League last season after a two-year hiatus. He will be York’s everyday starting short stop to begin the year.

A former Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs prospect, Gonzalez put up good numbers in the Atlantic League with the Lancaster Barnstormers from 2005 through 2008. In his final year with Lancaster in 2008, Gonzalez batted .299 with 11 homers and 59 RBIs. After not hearing interest from any affiliated clubs following the 2008 season, Gonzalez wanted to try something new. So, he opted to play in the Mexican League, where he could continue to play the sport he loved while also making more money than he would if he returned to the Atlantic League.

“I did good here (in the Atlantic League) and nothing happened so I decided to go for the experience and it was fun,” Gonzalez said Monday.

The veteran infielder spent the 2010 season playing in Italy. He felt the itch to return to the Atlantic League in 2011, so he joined the Road Warriors. Compared to what he did with Lancaster in 2008, Gonzalez’s numbers in 2011 weren’t outstanding (.289 batting average, four homers, 37 RBIs). But they were impressive considering Gonzalez said he played with a separated left shoulder for nearly the entire season. He said he injured the shoulder when benches cleared in a game at Long Island early in the 2011 season.

“We got into a fight against Long Island and somebody grabbed me from behind and threw me into the the ground,” Gonzalez said.

As a result, the switch-hitter was forced to bat from the right side of the plate until he felt fully healed in the final week of the season.

Gonzalez, 30, said he played winter ball this year in Panama and his native Dominican Republic, where he helped his Escogido squad capture the Carribean Series championship in February.

Gonzalez, who arrived in York over the weekend, said he’s spent the last couple months playing in a league in Puerto Rico, so he’s ready to go for the Revs (he’ll bat eighth in the lineup on Thursday). He’s also looking forward to seeing what kind of numbers he can produce in a full healthy season.

“Last year I had dislocated my left shoulder and I still hit near .290,” he said. “Now that I’m healthy, hopefully I can get back to where I used to be.”

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