MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers signed shortstop Alex Gonzalez for his superlative defense, but they are not exactly surprised that he entered Sunday second on the team with three home runs.
"He's always hit home runs," manager Ron Roenicke said. "he's always driven the ball, had extra-base hits. I knew we were going to get that part of it. What I wanted more, for him, was to have a tougher at-bat, to be able to use all of the field. We saw that in Spring Training. I really believe this guy can hit for a higher average."
You don't hear managers say that about 35-year-old players very often, especially those with parts of 14 seasons in the Major Leagues. But Roenicke has said often since the start of Spring Training that Gonzalez has the skills to hit much higher than his .247 career average.
Gonzalez's three-run home run in Saturday's win over the Rockies was the 155th homer of his career, 18th all time among Major Leaguers who primarily played shortstop. Robin Yount is third on that list with 251 homers, though he hit many of them as a center fielder.
Gonzalez said his focus is simply on producing quality at-bats.
"For me, I don't want to try to hit a homer," he said. "This is a great ballpark to hit a homer, but I don't want to get crazy, too excited every time I get to home plate, that it makes it hard for me to [hit] the ball the other way."
Still, "I think I'm a pull hitter. Early in the count, I want to be aggressive. ... With two strikes, depending on how they pitch me, you have to make adjustments and then you go to the other way."