30 Players in 30 Days: Alberto Gonzalez
It took Alberto Gonzalez a while to get to the States in 2003, not because he was searching for a team to sign him, but rather because he was searching for a visa and proper paperwork. “It was hard,” he said. “The Venezuelan government doesn’t want to give them to you because they think you are going to stay in the U.S. to live after you are done playing.”
It didn’t get any easier when he finally got to America.
“It was just me and my wife,” Gonzalez said. “My family is still in Venezuela. It was hard being here alone at first.”
It hasn’t been any easier cracking the starting the lineup on a consistent basis either. At the same time, Gonzalez hasn’t had a problem becoming the Nats super utility man. He can field all four infield positions with Gold Glove-like skills too. He played in 105 games (71 starts) and had 291 at-bats last season. And with the log jam at second base this season, he saw his at-bats drop drastically. He was used primarily as a defensive replacement and appeared in 114 games–but started just 37 of them. He registered only 186 at-bats and never got in a groove offensively. The most consistent playing time he received all year was at the end of the season when he filled in for an injured Ryan Zimmerman at third base for ten games.
It appears Gonzalez will be used in the same role next season but with the departure of Adam Kennedy, his playing time could increase. He has expressed interest in playing more but with Zimmerman, Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa entrenched as infield starters, it seems inevitable that Gonzalez will once again be a spot starter and defensive replacement for the Nats.