Alex Gonzalez has been everything the Braves hoped for – at the plate, in the field and in the clubhouse.
The newly acquired shortstop had four hits and two RBIs in Thursday’s win over the Padres.
Gonzalez had six straight hits between his final two at-bats Wednesday and his first four at-bats Thursday.
“It’s great,” Braves pitcher Tim Hudson said. “I tell you, he’s been a breath of fresh air, both on the field and in the clubhouse. Great teammate, which we heard that before we got him. Defensively he’s been outstanding. We knew what we were getting defensively. And offensively he’s definitely carried more than his weight.”
Gonzalez was acquired last week in a five-player deal that also sent shortstop Yunel Escobar to Toronto. Since the trade, Gonzalez is hitting .370 (10-for-27) and has hits safely in six of the past seven games. Thursday’s four-hit game matched a career high, something he’s done seven other times in his 12-year career.
Gonzalez was in on two double plays on Thursday, prompting Braves players to praise his defense as well.
“Big addition,” outfielder Matt Diaz said. “Playing behind him…. People doted on Yunel’s range, and rightfully so. He had a ton of range. But not only does Alex have the range, Alex positions himself to get rid of the ball quick. He may not have Yunel’s arm, but he gets rid of the ball so quick, and he’s got a very strong arm. It seems like it’s an easier ball for Troy to catch.
“Watching him turn double plays with [Martin] Prado – playing behind that is just fun to watch. I’ve got to be careful, because next time there’s a ball between third and short, I may not charge it. I may just expect him to make a great play. Which he probably will, but I can’t just expect that.”
Gonzalez has also been a good fit in the Braves clubhouse.
“Good luck to Esky [Escobar],” Hudson said. “I’m sure he’ll find his way up there. But I know everybody around here is really happy with what we have.”