Gonzalez undeterred by demotion
Disappointed outfielder resolves to improve at Triple-A
OAKLAND -- As Carlos Gonzalez set about the task of locating all his bats and other paraphernalia in the A's clubhouse Thursday afternoon, veteran designated hitter Frank Thomas told the rookie outfielder not to pack so heavily, despite being optioned hours earlier to Triple-A Sacramento.
"It's a four-day trip," Thomas said. "We'll see you in Kansas City."
Thomas was referring to September callups, but Gonzalez isn't willing to take anything for granted after seeing his promising start spiral into a 4-for-52 slump over his past 16 games.
"They don't promise me anything," Gonzalez said. "They just told me to go out there and work on a couple of things. Everybody knows that I'm not doing that good at the plate. I guess they just want me to get back to where I was."
One thing that might keep Gonzalez in Sacramento beyond Tuesday is the jolt he could provide to the River Cats' playoff roster. Sacramento opens its defense of last season's Pacific Coast League crown on Wednesday against the Salt Lake Bees, top affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels.
But that assumes that Gonzalez's swing comes around in a timely manner. The 22-year-old has slumped mightily from his .274 average at the All-Star break, putting up a .176 batting average with 32 strikeouts in August, culminating in a 2-for-39 streak.
In addition to the benefits of just clearing his head, Gonzalez said he has some physical problems with his swing that require ironing out.
"I feel like my swing is not right," Gonzalez said. "I'm not coordinated with my legs and my swing. I think that's part of the reason why I'm not successful."
Gonzalez tried to put a can-do spin on the situation, mentioning that it was in his hands to force the A's to call him up again by raking against Triple-A competition, against which he hit .293 with 25 RBIs in 41 games earlier this season.
But he admitted that the move, which caught him by surprise, has wounded his pride.
"It hurts me a little bit, because I was already here and I felt like I was going to stay here forever, but I was having a hard time and I understand that," Gonzalez said. "I just want to go out there and work, try to get my confidence back and get back on the team. I'll just start like it's a new season when I come back."
Geoff Lepper is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.