Gonzalez still in picture for Reds; Shortstop plans to play winter ball
By John Fay • firstname.lastname@example.org • September 4, 2008
Shortstop Alex Gonzalez was in the Reds' team picture Wednesday.
Years from now, people trying to match the stats to the faces might be confused, because Gonzalez hasn't played an inning this year.
He's been on the disabled list since spring training with a compression fracture in his left knee. He had surgery to repair the fracture July 7.
He hasn't begun to run or do baseball activities yet.
But his knee is completely pain-free.
"I'll start doing weights soon," he said. "Nothing major."
The plan is for him to be running by November.
"I'll hit a little then," he said. "If I'm 100 percent, I'll play some winter ball."
He said he'd probably play in the lower level of winter ball and be used only as a designated hitter to get some at-bats - sort of a winter rehab assignment.
"If I'm ready, I'll jump to the big team (in winter ball)," he said. "That's my plan for right now."
His health is one of the major issues for the Reds in the offseason. Gonzalez is due to make $5.375 million next year in the final year of his three-year contract.
He's probably Plan A at shortstop.
Jeff Keppinger, who filled in so well last year and early this year, has struggled since returning from a knee injury of his own.
Keppinger's on-base (.312) and slugging (.347) percentages are below what Gonzalez put up last year (.325, .468).