Gonzalez healthy for Spring Training
Shortstop missed 2008 season following left knee surgery
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- An examination of Reds shortstop Alex Gonzalez's left knee on Saturday brought some positive news.
Gonzalez, who missed all of the 2008 season with a compression fracture that required surgery, is expected to be fully ready for the start of Spring Training in three weeks.
Reds medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek examined Gonzalez in Miami, Fla.
"Tim put Alex through a series of tests and agility drills and was very pleased with what he saw," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said in a statement released by the team. "We expect Alex to be ready to participate at 100 percent in all drills on Day 1 of Spring Training."
The news should be a relief to the Reds, who were counting on having Gonzalez return to being their everyday shortstop following his lost season. The club does have insurance in infielders Jeff Keppinger and Jerry Hairston Jr., who was re-signed to a one-year contract earlier this month.
Gonzalez will make $5.375 million in 2009 during the final season of a three-year, $14 million contract. There is a $6 million mutual option for 2010 with a $500,000 buyout.
In 2007, Gonzalez batted .272 with 16 home runs and 55 RBIs in 110 games. He is considered one of the better defensive shortstops in the National League, and having him back to combine with double-play partner Brandon Phillips should make Cincinnati's infield much stronger up the middle.