SCOTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez wants to have something close to complete game-speed timing when he takes off March 3 to represent Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.
In the second inning of the first Cactus League game, the D-backs' Eric Hinske gave him a chance to dial up the intensity.
Hinske tried to take third on a fly ball to left field but Gonzalez's throw beat Hinske decisively. The hitting was not there yet -- 0-for-3 in four innings, although he reached on a fielder's choice and scored a run -- but that's part of preparation.
Gonzalez made his first All-Star trip last year, and with a healthy Troy Tulowitzki hitting behind him for a full season, he could finish better than his final numbers last year -- .303 with 22 home runs and 85 RBIs. Gonzalez hopes a strong Classic moves him in that direction, and toward that end has told new manager Walt Weiss that he wants to play as often as sensible during the early part of the Rockies' Cactus League schedule.
"I told him as much game I can play and as many at-bats I'm going to have are going to make be better for the WBC," Gonzalez said. "We're not trying to stay the whole game but we want to play more frequently.
"If I feel fine, I'm just going to go. When we get to Puerto Rico to play for Venezuela, if we have to play 20 innings, we have to play 20 innings in one game. It's a competition, a show. If you want to win the championship, you've gotta go play hard every day."
Gonzalez wanted to be a manageable playing weight this spring. Last year he reported at 230 pounds, but he is 222 now. He is not as worried as in the past about weight loss during the season. All he wants is to be sharp.