The Brewers currently have a competition among four players including Gonzalez, Taylor Green, Bobby Crosby and Hunter Morris for the starting job at first base until the injured Corey Hart returns from the disabled list. Hart is not expected back until late April, but he is working very hard to get in the lineup and is known for recovering from injuries quickly.
“They say I’m a pretty good baseball player, but a really good rehabber,” said Hart.
However, until he is healthy enough to start at first the Brewers will need someone to step up and consistently play at a high level. The team cannot afford to use any excuses for why they are not winning or lose a step in the National League Central division because of a single injury.
Gonzalez has the inside track to become the starter as he exceeded expectations in his first appearance at first base when Milwaukee took on the Cleveland Indians in their Spring Training matchup Sunday afternoon. The Brewers may have lost the game 7-4, but Gonzalez played four perfect innings in which he went 1-for-2 at the plate with a run scored. The 36-year-old may have spent 14 years at shortstop but he is loaded with talent on defense, which means he should handle the position well.
“Just have confidence in yourself,” Gonzalez said. “If you go out there relaxed, you make it easy.”
Gonzalez successfully grabbed a ball out of the dirt in which he made a rather difficult play look easy. He also managed to scoop up a groundball and make a quick play to second for the out. These are the type of plays the Brewers need out of their starting first baseman.
Milwaukee will also need someone to carry a big bat at the plate, as Hart has been one of the team’s top offensive contributors over the past several years. Luckily, Gonzalez has been known to have success on offense. He got off to a red hot start with the Brewers last season in which he batted .259 with four home runs and 15 RBI in 81 plate appearances.