ShareThis Page
New shortstop Erik Gonzalez excited for chance to play every day for Pirates | TribLIVE.com
Pirates/MLB

New shortstop Erik Gonzalez excited for chance to play every day for Pirates

Kevin Gorman
| Saturday, February 16, 2019 10:20 a.m

BRADENTON, Fla. — Erik Gonzalez waited a decade to become an everyday player in the major leagues, and this spring training represents his first chance to be a starter.

“I always tried to put my vision on being a guy that played every day in the league,” said Gonzalez, 27, who signed with Cleveland in 2009 out of the Dominican Republic and was traded to the Pirates in November. “Now I get the opportunity for that.”

After playing behind Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor as a utility infielder with the Indians, Gonzalez arrived Saturday at Pirate City ready to take a shot at becoming the Pirates’ starting shortstop. His defensive range was on display during workouts in how fluidly he handled ground-ball drills.

That was Clint Hurdle’s first chance to see Gonzalez up close, but the Pirates manager said he placed his trust in the club’s scouts watched Gonzalez play in the minor leagues. Hurdle met with Gonzalez last month at PiratesFest and spoke to him several times. Gonzalez’s enthusiasm was evident in his quick smile, Hurdle said.

“You talk to him about it, and I think you’ll feel his optimism and his excitement,” Hurdle said. “All you have to do is do the math. Look at who he’s played behind. Look at his story through the minor leagues. When he played a lot, he played well. A lot of our information came from guys who saw him play in the minor leagues and saw him play in the small spaces. To get this opportunity, you never know when it’s going to happen, and when it does, you want to embrace it.”

The Pirates acquired Gonzalez in a five-player trade in November, sending infielder Max Moroff and outfielder Jordan Luplow to the Indians for Gonzalez and a pair of pitching prospects.

“When they first traded for me, I was happy for that,” Gonzalez said. “Now I’m happy to be here, to put my talent on the field.”

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Gonzalez, who slashed .265/.301/.375 last season, is expected to compete with former first-round pick Kevin Newman to replace Jordy Mercer as the starter at shortstop. Mercer signed with the Detroit Tigers in free agency.

“I’m excited for that,” Gonzalez said, “for a big year.”

Love baseball? Stay up-to-date with the latest Pittsburgh Pirates news.

Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at kgorman@tribweb.com or via Twitter .


760194_web1_gtr-gonzo-021719
AP
Erik Gonzalez will compete for the Pirates’ starting shortstop job this season.
Categories: Sports | Pirates
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.