Versatile Gonzalez filling Blake's void
Indians' new utilityman willing to do whatever it takes
CLEVELAND -- Andy Gonzalez can do everything but pitch and play catcher -- at least to the best of the Indians' knowledge.It's the reason why Gonzalez was called up from Triple-A Buffalo on Saturday to fill the void left by the versatile Casey Blake. "When I came up as a shortstop, they said that a shortstop can play anywhere," Gonzalez said. "I know if I want to stay in the big leagues, it will help me if I can play everywhere, so I'm going to do whatever it takes." "Whatever it takes" got pretty easy for Gonzalez on Monday. Manager Eric Wedge had the 26-year-old jack-of-all-trades penciled into his starting lineup -- at designated hitter. It will be Gonzalez's first Major League start at DH and just the fourth of his eight-year professional career. The move, while it may appear puzzling, makes sense, Wedge said. He did not know if his other utility infielder, Jamey Carroll, would be available for Monday's game as he continues to nurse a sore left hamstring. If the situation came to where Wedge would have to make an in-game substitution, he would be able to move Gonzalez around instead of being pigeonholed. While Gonzalez is not where he likely expected to be, he will certainly take it. "He made a good impression on us," Wedge said. "This is a great opportunity for him." Gonzalez got his first call up to the Majors last season with the White Sox, where, in 189 at-bats, he batted .185 with two homers and 11 RBIs. Not the best first year in the big leagues by any means, but Gonzalez was able to establish a niche, becoming the only rookie in baseball to play seven different positions. He landed with the Indians this season as a non-roster invite to Spring Training and, after a strong camp, was optioned to Buffalo. Again, not swinging the strongest bat, Gonzalez batted .242 with the Bisons, but, because of his versatility, became the logical pick when Blake was traded. "He can play anywhere in the infield or outfield and, from our standpoint, that's important," Wedge said. "With Casey being gone and Victor [Martinez] out, we're a little short at first and third." And, apparently, DH. "Infield's a little better, I guess," Gonzalez said. "But anything that they want me do, I'll do it."
Andrew Gribble is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.