Going Gonzo: Padres brothers unite
Edgar called up for first Majors tour, joining younger sibling
CHICAGO -- Edgar Gonzalez and his kid brother, Adrian, stood together just off the infield at Wrigley Field on Monday evening, looking at the ivy on the outfield and the old, hand-operated scoreboard in center field.
To Edgar, it probably only seems like Wrigley just opened when he started his professional baseball career. The 29-year-old infielder has spent the entire Bush Administration in the Minors, trying to catch up to his younger brother. Edgar was a 30th-round Draft pick by Tampa Bay in 2000, 885 spots after Adrian, now 26, was drafted No. 1 overall by Florida.
While Adrian has cemented himself as a top-flight talent in his three seasons with San Diego, Edgar had never spent a day in the Majors until Monday, just a month shy of his 30th birthday. He's not even the most famous Edgar Gonzalez. Arizona's fairly anonymous pitcher by the same name has more of a rep.
Edgar made his Major League debut in the bottom of the sixth, replacing Kevin Kouzmanoff at third. He quickly collected his first hit in the seventh, stroking a single, on an 0-1 count, up the middle off Carlos Zambrano to score Scott Hairston.
Edgar brought his good track record to Spring Training as a non-roster invite, but he was one of the final cuts. With current Rule 5 Draft pick Callix Crabbe already on his way out, Edgar found out he was getting the nod Saturday night. His contract was officially purchased Monday as he made his way to Chicago from Des Moines, where he was playing the Iowa Cubs.
"Right away I thought, 'This has been a long time coming,' " Edgar said. "Seven, eight years, I don't even know how many. Everything I've worked for has led to this."
It took Edgar four years to make it out of Class A ball after signing out of hometown San Diego State, but he put up good numbers when he finally made it to Triple-A for parts of 2005 and 2006. He hit .392 in 46 games with Albuquerque in 2006 and .308 in his first full Triple-A season with Memphis last season, playing mostly second base. He was hitting .293 with four homers in Triple-A Portland this season when he got called up.
That he didn't get a callup with Florida in 2006, or with a woeful St. Louis team last year, bothered him, as did his designation to Portland after the spring, but he knew not being on the 40-man roster was a main sticking point.
"I wasn't happy," he said. "But it's not something I cared about, because it's happened so many times. I put it aside every time. I know what to do. I had to perform like I've done every year."
The pair will be the fourth set of brothers to play on the Padres at the same time and the sixth overall. Padres manager Bud Black said Gonzalez will get some starts around the infield, except for first base, where Adrian is firmly entrenched, and maybe a handful in the outfield. He was on the bench to start Monday's game.
"I've been part of a couple brother combinations," Black said. "It's great. I'm sure it's a thrill of a lifetime for both of them to be on the same field, especially with Edgar being the big brother and never being in the big leagues."
The Gonzalez parents, David and Alba, made the trip to see their sons play together as professionals for the first time. They have spent the last few winters playing together for Mazatlan.
Adrian has been a vocal promoter of his brother's skills for years, and with the last-place Padres stumbling at the plate, now was a good time for him to get the call.
"For him, it's just a matter of opportunity," Adrian said. "Last year it was a situation where he should have been called up with the Cardinals, but they decided to go with a guy on the [40-man] roster. The problem, most of the time, is that he's never been a guy on the roster. This is extremely good for his career, and it's for everything he's been working for his whole life."
Edgar said that playing with his brother in winter ball gave him the confidence to continue his dream. As they sat together in the clubhouse going over scouting charts and graphs, you couldn't tell which one was the older brother.
"I know I can [play] here, too," Edgar said. "He's my younger brother, no matter how he plays. If he can do it, I can do it, too."
Jon Greenberg is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.