Gonzo To Tampa?
OF Luis Gonzalez watches his second home run of the night travel off Greg Maddux. (AP Photo)

Posted Jun 21, 2006


Three weeks ago it was discussed, but always in the positive sense. Would Luis Gonzalez be back? Would he restructure his deal or would he retire, and ride into the D'Backs front office the greatest hero in the history of the organization? After Ken Kendrick's comments last week, how much has changed, now there are legitimate questions about Luis Gonzalez and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

INSIDE PITCH
Upon arriving at Tropicana Field on Tuesday for the start of a three-game series against the Devil Rays, Diamondbacks left fielder Luis Gonzalez was asked repeatedly if Tampa might be included in his future address, assuming things end on a sour note with the Diamondbacks.
Gonzalez, who was born in Tampa and had more than 100 friends and family members cheering him on during Arizona's 8-5 loss, tried to be as politically correct as possible.
"You never close the door to an opportunity," he said before the game.
Gonzalez, who has been the cornerstone of the Diamondbacks franchise for the past eight seasons, is in the final year of his contract with the club. Arizona holds an option for 2007, but at $10 million, it seems highly unlikely Gonzalez will be back at that salary.
The Diamondbacks also have prospects such as Scott Hairston and Carlos Quentin ready for regular duty at the major league level, and unless Gonzalez were to restructure a deal for less pay and perhaps, a lesser role on the club, the chances are more than likely he will become a free agent.
"We'll let everything fall where it is, I can't control that," he said after Tuesday's game. "I'm just going to continue to play the season out, and whatever happens, happens."
Gonzalez is hitting .263 with five homers -- none since April 20 -- and 31 RBIs. He was asked for his personal preference as to how things shake out, especially if he were to get hot in the second half of the season and finish on a high note.
"Personally, my preference would be to keep playing for the Diamondbacks," he said. "I'd love to stay in Arizona.
"But you don't always get what you ask for. So, I've just got to wait and see what happens. I've still got a whole second half to turn my season around. Obviously, it's not where I want it to be right now, but if I get on one of those hot streaks, I can turn everything around."
REPLAY: Right-hander Miguel Batista (6-5) tied his season high by allowing 11 hits during an 8-5 loss to the Devil Rays on Tuesday at Tropicana Field, and he has now lost three consecutive starts after winning three in a row. The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, have dropped six of their past seven and 13 of their past 15 overall and have lost eight straight on the road against American League clubs.
"It's been a rough stretch for us," left fielder Luis Gonzalez said. "Everybody's trying to do a little too much. We've just got to get back to playing the way we did in spring training, just having fun out there and playing."
Manager Bob Melvin held a postgame team meeting and, among other things, told his players they weren't ready to play Tuesday.
"We weren't ready to play, that's for sure," said Batista, who allowed six earned runs in five innings.

NOTES, QUOTES
--RHP Edgar Gonzalez, who went 0-9 as a starter for Arizona in 2004, was recalled from Triple-A Tucson and will make his first start of the season on Thursday at Tampa Bay. He appeared in only game for the Diamondbacks last season, allowing four earned runs in just one-third of an inning.
--OF Scott Hairston is listed as day-to-day after suffering an injured right shoulder Monday after crashing into the left field wall in Pittsburgh. An MRI apparently revealed no structural damage inside the joint, although Hairston was told he may have a problem with his biceps tendon. The injury could sideline him for several days.
--RHP Juan Cruz (sore shoulder) played catch again on Tuesday and will throw a bullpen session either Wednesday or Thursday before the team decides when he is ready to begin a minor league rehab assignment. Cruz likely would make at least two rehab appearances before being activated and returning to the starting rotation.
--Arizona, starting a three-game series at Tropicana Field on Tuesday, played its first game on artificial turf since Aug. 10-12, 2004, when Montreal swept the Diamondbacks in Arizona's last visit to Olympic Stadium.
--3B Chad Tracy was used in the designated hitter's role on Tuesday and went 2-for-4 with two RBIs in the loss to Tampa Bay. He hit sixth in the lineup, the lowest he has hit in the order this season.
 



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