Commentary

Gonzalez clubs record three homers

Updated: February 8, 2009, 10:08 AM ET
By Jorge Arangure Jr. | ESPN The Magazine

MEXICALI, Mexico -- Apparently, one of Jeff Moorad's first tasks as the new owner of the San Diego Padres will be a sitdown session with franchise first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

[+] EnlargeAdrian Gonzalez
AP Photo/Guillermo AriasAdrian Gonzalez rounds third base after one of his three home runs Wednesday.
"He will be one of my very first meetings (maybe the first) when our deal closes (probably sometime in March)," Moorad wrote in an e-mail. "Please tell him I have tremendous respect for him as a player, look forward to hearing his perspective and am thrilled that he is now on my team."

The Padres announced Tuesday that John Moores had agreed to sell the team to Moorad, who was formally the CEO and part owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Gonzalez, who hit a Caribbean Series-record three home runs in Mexico's 12-9 win over the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, said it's not in his personality to request a conversation with Moorad but added, "If he wants to have a conversation with me, then I'm open to it."

Asked whether he wanted to discuss with Moorad his long-term future on the team, Gonzalez, who is under contract with San Diego through the 2010 season, said, "It's up to him." The Padres have an option for 2011.

Gonzalez seemed optimistic about San Diego's ownership change.

"I'm excited about everything I've heard about [Moorad]," Gonzalez said. "He's a guy that understands players. It's not that John Moores didn't have that, but it's good knowing that [Moorad] has that perspective."

The left-handed-hitting Gonzalez, who hit all three of his home runs to the opposite field, credited an adjustment at the plate for his record-breaking performance Wednesday.

"It wasn't that they were pitching me outside," Gonzalez said, "but I was trying to pull the ball, and I had been opening up my [front] shoulder."

Viva Venezuela

Venezuela continued its improbable run in the CWS with a 5-2 win against Puerto Rico on Wednesday, giving the Venezuelans a CWS-leading 3-0 record. Perhaps most improbable was that the Venezuelan team had the most difficult road in getting to Mexicali -- literally.

The Tigres de Aragua did not clinch their league title until Friday night and did not leave Venezuela until Sunday afternoon. After a three-hour flight to El Salvador for a layover, the Tigres then flew six hours to Mexicali. They did not arrive in Mexicali until 1 a.m. local time Monday morning. To make things worse, they were scheduled for the early game Monday, which they won 3-2 against the Dominican Republic.

"The first day was the one we worried about," Venezuela manager Buddy Bailey said.

Major opportunities

Free-agent pitcher Edgar Gonzalez, who shut out Venezuela for seven innings Tuesday while striking out nine and walking none in a 1-0 extra-inning loss for Mexico, said he has received interest from the Pittsburgh Pirates, Oakland Athletics, Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals, though none of those teams has offered him a major league deal. Interest from the Royals and Cardinals intensified after Tuesday's performance, Gonzalez said.

"I'm waiting for a big league offer," said Gonzalez, who pitched for the Diamondbacks from 2003 to 2008. "With [Tuesday's] outing, I showed that I can pitch in a big league rotation. Whichever team offers me a big league offer, then I'm ready to sign. [If] it's a minor league deal, then I'm not really interested."

Gonzalez also said he's not interested in a bullpen job and would want to sign a deal only as a starter. He threw 91-93 mph Tuesday and said he reached as high as 95 mph.

"[Against Venezuela] I showed I'm a starter by throwing seven strong innings against a tough team," he said.

Gonzalez spent most of last season on the disabled list with arm problems.

Harping on the tarp

A controversial rule interpretation in Venezuela's 5-2 win Tuesday has three of the four managers looking for a rulebook clarification.

With two outs in the second inning and a man on first, Venezuela's Alex Delgado hit a line drive down the right-field line that struck the tarp near the visiting-team bullpen. Puerto Rico right fielder Jorge Padilla touched the tarp while trying to field the ball, resulting in first-base umpire Ricardo Marin calling the play a ground-rule double.

Puerto Rico manager Eduardo Perez argued the call and persuaded all four umpires to convene, but the call stood.

"I'm going to need to reread the rules," Perez said.

The umpires had informed Perez before the series that a player could touch the tarp as long as he didn't climb on top of it, he said.

"Suddenly, someone put this imaginary line around the tarp that automatically makes it a ground-rule double," Perez said.

Perez said Venezuela manager Bailey told him in a private conversation during the game that he was puzzled by the call.

"He also didn't know that rule," Perez said. "He thought it was the umpire's mistake."

Mexico manager Lorenzo Bundy, whose Venados de Mazatlan had played against Mexicali during the regular season, said the interpretation had changed from the original ground rules given to the managers.

"I thought we were told we could lean on the tarp," Bundy said. "Now they're saying any contact with the tarp makes it a dead play."

Lights out

Wednesday's game between Mexico and the Dominican Republic was delayed for approximately 50 minutes in the sixth inning because of a power outage with the lights in left field.

Jorge Arangure Jr. is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.