Carlos Gonzalez takes batting practice at Luis Aparicio Stadium in Maracaibo, Venezuela, November 1st, 2011. (Eduardo Martinez/courtesy Diario La Verdad)
Gonzalez says his efforts have intensified while staying in his native Maracaibo since last October. After a crash in an outfield wall which resulted in a wrist injury, the player couldn't swing a bat until November. His batting practice was practically a daily fixture at the Luis Aparicio Stadium, whenever his winter league club, Aguilas del Zulia, was in town. He didn't play this year in the Venezuelan Winter League. However, his training routine was extensively documented in that country's press and Twitter feeds.
"I feel I've doubled my efforts this offseason in order to improve. I hope things get so much better in 2012, since I feel I'm at a higher level now," Gonzalez said in statements released by his publicist, Fabiola Bohórquez Guerra.
CarGo knows how much of an asset he is for the Rockies: "In 2011, injuries forced me to miss too many games. One of my goals is to stay healthy. The rest will come with hard work," he said.
Most of his injuries are the result of his aggressive play, both with the glove and at the plate. He knows his fierce style needs to be handled with caution. "I will always be aggressive in the way I approach my game. It's hard for me to change that. I know I have to be more careful from now on if I want to stay healthy," Gonzalez said.
Playing Left Field permanently this season will certainly help him to achieve that goal.
The Rockies kept on adding more Venezuelan players to the roster this offseason. A mix of young and veteran men are now with Colorado, such as pitcher Guillermo Moscoso, catcher Ramón Hernández and infielder Marco Scutaro. The latter is a close friend of Gonzalez.
And that is certainly one more reason why CarGo is excited about the possibilities.
"I will be pleased to share the clubhouse with all of them. I admire them all and I get along nicely with every one of them. That will certainly help to keep a good mood within the team, and encourage us to go out and keep on winning games."