DENVER (CBS4) – Carlos Gonzalez believes he can have a super season for the Rockies this year, and he most likely will if he can stay healthy. But to stay in one piece all season, CarGo might have to change the way he plays the game.

In 2010 CarGo may well have been the best player in the National League. He hit .336 with 34 home runs and 117 runs batted in. He was also magnificent in the field. When 2011 rolled around CarGo expected to pick up right where he left off, but it didn’t happen.

He admits he tried too hard.

“It’s always hard to not think about the year before and not think about what a great year I had,” Gonzalez said. “It’s difficult. I’m only 26, I’m still young and it was my first time doing a lot of things in the same year. I had everything I wanted in one year. I signed a contract, I won a batting title, Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, Player of the Year … it was so hard for me to get prepared for the next year.”

CarGo definitely tried too hard on July 3 against the Kansas City Royals. In a game the Rockies would eventually lose 16-8, he made a tremendous play in the outfield. He caught a deep fly but ran into the wall. He injured his wrist and nobody could tell how serious it was, but the truth is he was never the same for the rest of the season.

Vic and Gary discuss Carlos Gonzalez possibly playing it safer in the video below:

This year he plans on trying to play it a little bit safer, and maybe a little smarter and be more aware of the game situation before he lays it all on the line.

“I think about it every night. It’s something that I have to control because I always have to think about what the situation is; if we have a chance to win the game,” he said. “That’s the problem. I always feel that we have a chance to win, even if we’re down by 20 runs … but I have to be more careful because it’s very difficult to sit on the bench and be on the D.L.”

It’s a question of risk versus reward. Every player has to weigh the consequences.

“That’s a learning experience. I broke my hand. I have two screws in my hand right now because I ran into the wall,” Dexter Fowler said. “There’s a level of awareness that you need to have, you know, game situations — how close you are to the wall and I think it takes time. But once you learn it, it’s invaluable.”

“I have to know that there is another game the next day and it’s not the end of the world if I let it go,” Gonzalez said.

Even with the bad start and the injury, CarGo hit .295 with 26 home runs and 92 runs batted in. That’s a great year for most players, but he also missed 35 games. He knows if he’s smart and can stay healthy those numbers will be much higher in 2012.

“I expect to be 162 games out there, playing, being healthy,” he said. “I know I can do a lot of special things when I’m healthy.”


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