SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) – After a disappointing end last year,Carlos Gonzalez is hoping 2013 will start well for him – both with the Colorado Rockies and with Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.
Gonzalez drove in his first three runs this spring with a homer and double, leading the Rockies over the Milwaukee Brewers 5-2 on Friday.
Gonzalez was 2 for 9 going into the game. He lined a two-run double in the third inning and homered off Ariel Pena in the fifth.
The All-Star outfielder will play one more game with Colorado before going to Florida for the WBC.
Gonzalez is in the third season of a seven-year, $80 million deal. He hit .303 with 22 homers and 85 RBIs last year, but struggled in August and September as injuries to several Rockies regulars such as Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Cuddyer allowed teams to pitch around him.
Gonzalez says he pressed to perform.
“As a player, it’s always tough when things are going bad for the team and you worry so much and we had a lot of guys out. You don’t have a Tulowitzki and a Cuddyer hitting behind me, it make a difference,” he said. “You put pressure on yourself to do more and make the team better, but one guy doesn’t make the team better. The young guys did a good job, but we just couldn’t win.
“I feel good right now. I’ve worked really hard and I take a lot of pride in taking on the responsibilities I have on this team. I’m seeing the ball well and this was a good day. I’m looking forward to going to the WBC and wear the colors of my country,” he said.
Lefty Danny Rosenbaum, selected from Boston in December’s Rule 5 draft and projected as a long man out of the bullpen, threw two scoreless innings for Colorado.
“I was trying to work quick and get groundballs,” he said.
Five of his six outs came on grounders, including a double play to end the second.
“They told me they see me more as a long relief guy. I’ve always been a starter in college and my whole career and coming out of the `pen will be different. But it’s pitching and it’s the same game. However they think I can help, I want to do that,” he said.
With Mark Rogers pitching against Italy in a WBC morning tuneup, the Brewers used a series of eight relievers who all worked an inning.
Manager Ron Roenicke was pleased with the scoreless inning put in by 2011 first-round pick Jed Bradley, who struggled last year in his first pro season at Class A Brevard County. He lost a lot of weight due to a persistent stomach bug and lost velocity on his pitches as a result.
“He’s been very good early. Even his bullpens have been pretty good,” Roenicke said.
NOTES: The Rockies turned an unusual double play to end the fifth. With Norichika Aoki on first, Segura singled. Right fielder Charlie Blackmon hit cutoff man Reid Brignac in the middle of the diamond, and he threw behind Segura for the out at first. Aoki thought it was the third out and strayed off the bag, and was picked off second. … The Rockies and Brewers will open the regular season in one month, on April 1 in Milwaukee. It will be the second straight year the Rockies will play their opener at Miller Park.
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