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08/16/07 6:40 PM ET

Gonzalez says fundamental play is key

San Diego native chats with fans online from PETCO Park

Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez chatted with fans online Thursday from PETCO Park. The San Diego native answered questions about the Padres' postseason chances, hitting drills and slumps, and his great respect for Barry Bonds.

Adrian Gonzalez: Hi everyone, this is Adrian Gonzalez. Let's get started.

Arleney: You are a part of one of my favorite baseball teams. When did you know that you wanted to play pro baseball?

Gonzalez: When I was eight years old, I knew that my passion was for baseball.

ELHplayer: How do you think the Padres will come out of their struggles?

Gonzalez: I wouldn't say there are any struggles. We are in position to overcome the Diamondbacks with one good winning streak. We are currently in first place in the Wild Card and there are 26 other teams that would love to be in our position.

JoseSD: Do you think you are going to be able to hit more home runs than last season?

Gonzalez: I feel I'm on pace to match or better last year's home run totals. Hopefully, I'll be able to improve on that number.

ROOMY: Do you think you will be playing in Mazatlan this season?

Gonzalez: Not this year. I will finally get a full offseason to relax.

K-Man: Do you have any advice for a young first baseman?

Gonzalez: First of all, practice makes perfect. Never think you know it all. And always ask questions from coaches or peers who might help you.

erikan: What do you talk about with the baserunner when you are holding them on first?

Gonzalez: Most of the time is just a 'Hi, how are you?' When it's a player I admire, I ask for advice so I can improve my game. Sometimes it can be more personal as far as what position they have on religion.

am11: Why is it that you tug your shirt right before you get into the batter's box? Is it something you do without noticing or is it superstition?

Gonzalez: I like my shirts to feel baggy and not restrict me when I'm about to swing. So, in a way, I'm untucking my shirt so I can have a freer waist rotation.

Padre_Gerr: I am a huge Padres fan. I live in San Diego. You are one of my favorite players because you were born in San Diego and grew up a Padres fan. But I want to know if you are also a Chargers fan?

Gonzalez: Yes, I am a big Chargers fan as well. Hopefully they can go all the way this year, like we want to.

drewster22: What is your greatest memory of your career so far?

Gonzalez: Celebrating last year's West Division title.

giolatino: How did you become such a good first baseman?

Gonzalez: My father was a first baseman as well. My two older brothers are middle infielders, so I had a lot of practice when I was real young.

SDBearcub: How does it feel to play for the team that you watched as a kid?

Gonzalez: It feels great. As a kid, I always wanted to be a Padre.

CurbYour: How do you decide who to throw the ball at when you are running off the field?

Gonzalez: I always look for a kid who looks eager for a ball. And if I can't find one, I put my head down and throw it up in the air.

Mikee: Adrian, how do you feel about your swing? I remember going to Spring Training and watching Tony Gwynn hit off the tee. I thought only Little Leaguers did that. It said a lot about the best hitter of our time. How do you prepare?

Gonzalez: There are about four drills I really like. One of them is a tee. The other three I need a hitting coach to either toss me or throw the ball to me.

snackers82: What do you do in your spare time during the offseason?

Gonzalez: I will be doing some travelling, playing some golf, preparing for the upcoming season, and most importantly spending time with my wife.

RandyJ: Your batting average is down and your strikeouts are up relative to last year. How are pitchers pitching to you differently?

Gonzalez: They're not pitching me any differently. I created a bad habit in June and went into a bad slump. My strikeouts in June and July were off the charts because of this bad habit and my average went downhill because of the same reason. My RBIs, home runs and doubles are still on pace to be greater than last year. So that is something that I do look forward to.

PapaBrgndy: Do you think that the Padres' acquisitions before the trade deadline are enough to get into the postseason?

Gonzalez: I think the moves improved our team. I think getting into the postseason is the first step and playing good baseball in the postseason is the most important thing. Last year, the Cardinals did not have the best team on paper going into the playoffs, but they played the best baseball. And that's why they won.

WillSon: Do you think the Padres can go deep into the playoffs this year?

Gonzalez: I think if we play good baseball the final two weeks of the season, we can carry that momentum and go deep into the playoffs.

ericphone1: What problems, if any, do you think the Padres will have if you make it into the postseason?

Gonzalez: The times we struggled this year is when it seems the ball doesn't go our way. We hit line drives right at defenders and the other team seems to find every hole. I think if we keep playing good fundamental baseball, there shouldn't be any problems getting into the postseason.

Gwynn1977: Do you agree with all the talk that the Padres need a big-time home run hitter in the middle of the lineup? Or are you content with the group of guys in the lineup now that can all split the gaps at PETCO?

Gonzalez: I feel, because of the ballpark, on-base guys are more important than the home run hitter. If we continue to have quality at-bats, there won't be talk about us having to get a home run hitter.

Gonzalez: I only have a few minutes left, so let's get to a final few questions.

BIGBRUIN08: Adrian, do you feel more comfortable hitting at the three spot or cleanup?

Gonzalez: I feel more comfortable hitting third, just because I don't consider myself a home run hitter.

drewster22: Do you respect Barry Bonds?

Gonzalez: I feel that Barry Bonds is the best player that I've ever seen. The times I've spoken to him on the field, he has been a great person to me and I have a great deal of respect for him and his accomplishments. I wish everybody outside the lines would have the same respect for him.

Gonzalez: Thank you everybody for your questions. Sorry I couldn't get to all of them, but I have to prepare for tonight's game. See you at PETCO Park soon!

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.