05/21/08 9:33 PM ET
Gonzalez using power to all fields
Left-handed hitter has hit six of 11 homers the other way
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
What might merit some surprise, though, is where Gonzalez has hit most of his home runs -- to the opposite field.
The left-handed-hitting Gonzalez has hit six homers to either left field or center field, even though in the last year he has looked to pull more balls because, as he said recently, the "team needs me to drive the ball more."
Gonzalez hit two home runs in the Padres' recently completed three-game series with the Mariners at Safeco Field, with one going to the opposite field. He has also hit long home runs the other way in Houston, Florida and San Francisco.
Overall, Gonzalez is hitting .321 on the road and .189 at home.
"It's a great sign for any hitter to be able to hit to all fields with power. I think that he is a gifted hitter who can do a lot of things with the ball," Padres manager Bud Black said. "It's doesn't surprise me that he has power that shows up to all fields."
Nor does it surprise Gonzalez much, as he's never considered himself a dead pull hitter. Still, trying to get a ball out of spacious PETCO Park hitting the ball to center field or to left field isn't easy for a left-handed batter.
"I tend to hit more balls the other way than pull them. ... My whole life I've been a left-center guy," Gonzalez said. "PETCO is a tough place to hit if you're a left-handed pull hitter because it's so deep. You want to hit the ball in the gaps, but at the same time the ball tends to hang up in the gaps there."
In other words, there's no perfect answer. Well, other than hitting on the road, which has always suited Gonzalez well. He hit 20 of his 30 home runs last season away from home.
"Especially with some of the parks we've gone to, you can let the ball get a little deeper on you and take it the other way," Gonzalez said. "Houston is one of them, Florida is one of them, San Francisco is another. You make a little more of an effort to let the ball get a little deeper on you."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.