Adrian González Finds Home Away From Home in Boston
NEW YORK – Red Sox owner John Henry slowly paced the visitor’s clubhouse at his rival's ballpark after yet another Boston win over the Yankees. He greeted some of the players that still lounged in their chairs while the others where in the shower or somewhere else in the clubhouse.
Henry then stopped by the locker of his latest key offseason acquisition, Adrian González, to congratulate him for the night's work that helped the team win and thank him for what he's done so far this season.
As calm and laid back as Californians are said to be, González – or El Titan, as he's nicknamed – deflected the praise and showered it on new teammates, who sit atop the American League East after a slow start.
Gonzalez said it was all about the team.
"I never focus on my personal stuff. As long as the team is winning, I don't really focus on my numbers," González told Fox News Latino recently. "I only worry about the team winning."
Still, the first baseman leads the the Major Leagues with 60 RBI, and his .341 batting average leads the American League and is only second to José Reyes, the New York Mets shortstop, who is hitting .342. González has 13 home runs for good measure.
Oh, the Red Sox have won nine games in a row heading into Tuesday's game.
Boston has been trying to find a power bat to complement David Ortiz ever since they parted ways with Manny Ramírez. They lost the power, too, that Victor Martínez (20 home runs) and Adrian Beltre (28) provided last season.
So adding another Adrian to the lineup was a no-brainer.
"He's one of the best hitters in the game. He was just hitting down in San Diego. And to be on the big stage here, everybody gets to see it now," said left fielder Carl Crawford, who signed as a free agent with Red Sox after spending nine seasons with Tampa Bay Rays. "He's definitely a force to be reckoned with."
Said third baseman Kevin Youkilis: "He's been the top hitter in the lineup, driving in runs and hitting for average. He's gives a lot of depth. He’s an impact player that's going to do a lot of damage. It's great."
San Diego had no other choice but to trade González. They didn't have the deep pockets to afford the contract that he was going to command in the open market.
With a year left on the deal, they stockpiled three prospects in the trade with the Red Sox.
One of those players, Anthony Rizzo, just got called up and made his big league debut after tearing it up with Tuscon in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.
For González, one of the major differences between having played on the Padres during the last five seasons and the time spent with Boston has been the length of games and the home cooking at Fenway.
"The games here last three and half hours, three hours and forty minutes," he joked.
"The mentality here is to go up there to hit and see who's going to score more. We have very good pitching and that's why we're in first place," González added.
"But the mentality in San Diego was, 'Let's get one, two, three runs' and for the pitching to do what they needed to do. Here we have to go get five, six, seven (runs) to win.”
“Any ballpark that’s not Petco is better. Petco is one of the worst fields next to Minnesota’s. It’s the most difficult. It’s never easy to hit there,” said González.
Though his teammates praise his hitting and presence in the lineup, González keys the team’s lineup production.
The Red Sox are leading the majors in just about every offensive category, including runs, batting average and total bases.
“Our lineup is complete. We have a bit of everything. We got guys that run, guys that all hit, some can run, some get on base more," González said. "That’s why our lineup is complete.”
As his Red Sox career has spanned barely half a season, he credits Ortiz with getting him used to life away from the West Coast and facing pitchers he’s never seen before.
“He’s given me a lot of guidance. He’s tremendous person. He’s a great teammate," González said. "He’s helped me a lot getting used to the city of Boston, how to focus on how they pitch in the American League. He helps me recognize how pitchers go about it in different situations that they’ve faced him. He’s really helped me a lot.”
The Red Sox, winners of two World Series in the last seven years, bank on González bringing home another.
Big Papi partnered with Ramírez for those championships and now knows that there’s another hitter in the lineup that can hit for power and average while driving in runs.
“This guy, Adrian González, is really intelligent and he prepares himself for the game. Clearly he’s the best hitter we have," Ortiz said. "We needed a batter like Adrian who produces.”
Adry Torres, who has covered MLB, NFL, NBA and NCAA basketball games and related events, is a regular contributor to Fox News Latino. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @adrytorresnyc.
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