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Alex's ordeal

Red Sox shortstop keeps his eye on the ball, his heart with his ailing son

Originally Published: October 6, 2009
By Amy K. Nelson | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Minutes before each game, the ritual begins. First, a prayer. Then, the visualization of nine imagined innings: balls hit to him, time spent inside the batter's box, swings at fastballs -- a reminder of the why he's there, and not with his family. It's only three or four hours, Alex Gonzalez tells himself, to focus his mind on his job and nothing else.

"It's hard, but this is my job," the Red Sox shortstop says. "I try to focus on baseball but sometimes it enters my mind, ...

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