DENVER -- After beginning the season believing Carlos Gonzalez's range made him a good choice to play left field at Coors Field, Rockies manager Jim Tracy has determined Gonzalez's arm makes him the best choice to spend next year in right.
Gonzalez began in left but moved to center when the Rockies demoted Dexter Fowler. After Fowler returned, and after Seth Smith didn't perform as well in right field as he did last year, Tracy began putting Gonzalez in right. In part because of the increased throwing opportunities in right, Gonzalez leads National League outfielders with 12 assists.
In truth, it doesn't matter where Gonzalez plays. Last year, playing in center while Fowler did a stint in the Minors, and by the end of the year playing left at home and right on the road, Gonzalez earned his first Rawlings Gold Glove Award. Tracy doesn't want him "tennis-balling back and forth."
"When you look at the amount of area that you have to cover from center field to the left-field line, that's a significant amount of territory, and that's the only reason we were doing what we were doing initially," Tracy said. "You're going to play 162, and 81 of them are going to be played in this ballpark. So there's give and take.
"But the arm forces baserunners to stop, or if you decide on trying to score from second base, you run the risk of getting blown up at home plate. That's happened two or three times here recently since we put him over there. You've seen the message that the other side of the field has sent back: We get what you're doing. We'll stop."