Gonzalez pleased, Masset shaky
In his first game action this spring at shortstop, Alex Gonzalez played five innings against the Yankees Tuesday night and was pretty pleased with how he did, especially since he had a few fielding chances.
“It was fun today to be in the field, playing the field,” Gonzalez said. I was excited today to get out there and do the best I can. I felt good. I felt good running and comfortable in the field.”
“That was a pretty good test for him,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He was only going to get four innings but he asked to play the fifth so he could play more defense.”
With no outs in the fourth, Gonzalez made a nice backhanded, short-hop pick on Jose Molina’s grounder and started the 6-4-3 double play.
“The ball was hit hard. I just stayed on the play,” Gonzalez said. “He hit it pretty good. I was thinking ‘hang on to the ball, don’t lose it.’ I kept my eyes on the ball and I have a great second baseman in Brandon Phillips. We had a slow runner going to first base and had all the time to turn the double play.”
“That was a great play,” Baker said. “He made it look easy but it was hard. That’s why he is one of the best.”
In the second, Gonzalez nabbed a one-hop routine grounder from Angel Berroa, easily retired him for the third out. Gonzalez was also involved in a couple of close plays at second base, including one where Jay Bruce threw out Brett Gardner trying to stretch a single into a double in the third inning.
Gonzalez was 0-for-2 with a groundout to shortstop and a line out to second base. He ran up the bases slowly on the groundout. I didn’t think he looked too great but Gonzalez said he felt fine, better than fine in fact.
“Much better today. I didn’t feel any pain,” Gonzalez said. “The last couple games, I’ve felt better in my knee. I’ve got my speed back. A couple of more games, I’ll be ready. I felt great running from home to first.”
“I’m at the point where I want to be. Just go out there and play and help the team. With nothing stopping me, I know what I can do.”
Gonzalez is expected to start again on Friday. He will be rested on Wednesday vs. Houston. The Reds are scheduled off on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Yankees hitters haven’t been fooled by fifth starter candidate Nick Masset, who gave up three earned runs and eight hits over four innings with no walks and no strikeouts. Many of the balls were well hit, especially Juan Miranda’s solo homer to right field.
“I felt good today,” Masset said. “It felt like the ball was coming out of my hand well. I felt really loose. I think there were just a few pitches I could have executed better, maybe two or three. That’s really it.”
It was Masset’s second shaky outing in three starts and that couldn’t have helped him as well as Micah Owings and Homer Bailey have pitched.