"I waited and waited, but there was no offer," Gonzalez said. "So I had to look elsewhere. The Brewers had a place for me. You have to go where you are wanted."
Gonzalez was 2-for-4 with his second home run in the 10-8 loss to the Braves, but will miss the rest of the three-game series to be with his wife for the birth of their third child in Weston, Fla.
With Gonzalez on paternity leave, the Brewers will call up Eric Farris from Triple-A Nashville to back up shortstop Cesar Izturis.
With promising young shortstops Tyler Pastornicky and Andrelton Simmons in the pipeline, the Braves weren't interested in bringing Gonzalez back as anything except a stopgap.
The Brewers, though, wanted to upgrade at shortstop and gave the 35-year-old Gonzalez, who made $2.5 million last year with the Braves, a $3.5 million one-year deal with a vesting option for 2013.
"I liked Atlanta. Good teammates, good fans, good team," said Gonzalez, who hit a solo shot off Jair Jurrens in the second inning Friday. "But I'm happy. I'm glad to be with the Brewers. We have a playoff team. I'm excited about the season."
Gonzalez had a down year at the plate last season and got off to a slow start this year. But he is an upgrade defensively over Yuniesky Betancourt despite an uncharacteristic three early errors.
"We really like what we've seen," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "When you come in and see him just three games [in a series], you don't appreciate him as much as when you see him every day. He can really field."