MLB News Story - Astros' Gonzalez ready to play any of 7 positions

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Astros' Gonzalez ready to play any of 7 positions

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

By CHUCK KING

Associated Press

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) Marwin Gonzalez memorizes his position one day at a time.

The Houston Astros' versatile veteran needs to consult a schedule given to him by manager A.J. Hinch and taped to his locker to be sure where he's playing the following day.

"In spring training he gave me my own schedule," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez played 47 games in left field last season, 38 at shortstop, 31 at first, 22 at second, 19 at third and two in right field. On a team that features AL MVP Jose Altuve, World Series MVP George Springer and Carlos Correa, Gonzalez led the World Series champions with 90 RBIs. He hit .303 with 138 hits, 67 runs and 23 homers, all career bests.

"I think he should have been an All-Star," Hinch said.

The 28-year-old Gonzalez hit a tying ninth-inning homer off Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen in Game 2 of the World Series, helping Houston to a 7-6, 11-inning win.

"I knew he would be impactful," Hinch said. "He's one of the most valuable players on our team because of what he can offer and how little of a step back there is when you sit some of the bigger names."

Gonzalez started at third base in Tuesday's 10-5 split-squad win over Washington. He hit his first home run of spring training in the first inning, connecting from the left side against A.J. Cole. He also walked and doubled.

Gonzalez could see time at first base early in the season. Yuli Gurriel is expected to miss the first two weeks while he recovers from hand surgery, and when he returns must serve a five-game suspension imposed for an inappropriate gesture toward Yu Darvish during the World Series.

Hinch wants to give Gonzalez some time in center this spring training. Playing every position except pitcher and catcher makes for a crowded locker.

Gonzalez always has five gloves nearby: for first base, middle infield positions, third base, outfielder and general practice.

"It's fun," Gonzalez said. "I don't have to focus just on one thing."

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Updated March 6, 2018

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