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Rockies move Carlos Gonzalez to center field, leadoff spot

Jun 7, 2011, 1:18 PM EDT

Carlos Gonzalez outfield

Dexter Fowler‘s abdominal injury has the Rockies shaking up their outfield and batting order by moving Carlos Gonzalez from left field to center field and from No. 3 hitter to leadoff man.

Gonzalez had played exclusively left field this season, but he started 55 times in center field last year and has 1,300 career innings there.

And while it may seem odd for a guy coming off a 34-homer, 117-RBI season to hit leadoff Gonzalez actually batted atop the lineup 44 times last season and 27 times in 2009.

Of course, none of that means he’ll remain in center field or as the leadoff man for long. Gonzalez told Troy Renck of the Denver Post that he’d prefer to hit in the middle of the lineup and manager Jim Tracy indicated that it’s a temporary move in part due to Gonzalez’s slow start.

  1. scatterbrian - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    Slow start? This is who he is, Jim. That .384 BABIP last year was a fluke. Lead off with Iannetta.

    • spindervish - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:11 PM

      No way he was hitting .330 again, but calling him a .249 hitter is a bit of a stretch. The power hasn’t really been there this year either. I’m pretty confident that a .720 OPS is not “who he is.”

  2. joelgold - Jun 7, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    In the few Rockies games I’ve seen this year, it sure doesn’t look like Gonzalez tries very hard in the outfield. He always seems to dog it, especially if there is any chance of someone else getting to the ball. In a game this weekend Tulowitzki caught a ball in medium left field as Gonzalez just sort of looked on. Is he always like this?

    • spindervish - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:05 PM

      Gonzalez is widely considered a tremendous outfielder, even in center, and everything I’ve seen of him seems to back that up.

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