Francona on CarGo: "We're trying to get him ready"

The 33-year-old hopes to be a big part of the 2019 Indians

James Rapien
April 06, 2019 - 2:49 pm
Sep 27, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez (5) in the dugout in the seventh inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The Indians expect Carlos Gonzalez to be a big-time contributor this season. The 33-year-old signed on March 19.

When the Indians brought him in on a minor-league deal, people wondered what the former All-Star would have to do to make the Indians' roster? It sounds like Gonzalez is in their future plans.

"I don't think were as much evaluating him as trying to get him ready," manager Terry Francona said on Saturday.

That means the veteran, who is 4-for-8 with two walks and one RBI in two Triple-A games should join the big league club later this month.

Gonzalez finished with a .276 batting average last season, hitting 16 home runs and 64 RBI. He admitted he hasn’t faced a Major League pitcher since last season. How long will it take him to get acclimated and ready to play?  

“The only thing I’m missing is games,” Gonzalez said last month. “I feel healthy. I feel strong. I just want to have at-bats and show them what kind of player I am and what I can bring to the table.

“Normally it would take 25-30 at-bats when it comes to spring training games.”

The Indians will give him time to get ready in hopes that he can still play at a high level. They need someone to bring stability to their outfield. Right now they're rotating between five players – Greg Allen, Jake Bauers, Leonys Martin, Tyler Naquin and Jordan Luplow. Naquin's .200 batting average is the best of the five.

CarGo not only thinks he can help this team, but believes the Indians are still World Series contenders. 

“This was a team that not too long ago was playing in the World Series,” Gonzalez said last month. “As a baseball player, I think that’s everybody’s dream. You want to be on that stage. You want to be in a position to win a championship. This team is still in that category. If you look at the lineup, the rotation, the bullpen is built for winning. I’m just really glad to be part of this roster right now.

“It was an easy decision for me to decide to come here and compete for a spot.”

It looks like Gonzalez will not only earn a spot, but get a chance to have a big role on the 2019 Indians. 

Jason Kipnis was with CarGo on Friday, making his first rehab start. He finished 0-for-3. Francona said the two-time All-Star moved well, despite recovering from a calf injury. Kipnis expects to join the Indians on their next road trip. 

Watch Gonzalez and Kipnis play for the Clippers in the video below: