MINNEAPOLIS -- Marwin Gonzalez found himself in an unfamiliar position Tuesday night, May 14.
With Max Kepler getting a day off, the 30-year-old Gonzalez found himself starting in right field for the first time in his career.
“When you suggest something to him, he believes he can do it and we believe he can do it, too,” manager Rocco Baldelli said.
And so Gonzalez went out to right.
Gonzalez, the Twins’ multi-positional every-day player, is getting closer and closer to being used as just that.
A bulk of his starts have come at third base this season with Miguel Sano on the injured list to begin the year.
But with Sano set to come off the IL within the next week, the Twins finally will be able to start using Gonzalez like they originally envisioned — and how he had been used for years in Houston.
“I’ve been doing that since 2015. I don’t have a favorite position,” Gonzalez said. “I enjoy what I do. I fell in love with what I do.”
So, that means more time in the corner outfield spots, which he is a bit less familiar with, and more time all around the infield, spotting others when they need a day off.
“That’s a talent, in and of itself. It is something very few guys have. You have to have a confidence in your ability. Not just the ability to do it, which is one thing, but the confidence in yourself to bounce around sometimes, even in the same game,” Baldelli said. “… It is very challenging to stay locked in and to be able to do it.”
That shift comes as Gonzalez is beginning to heat up at the plate.
Gonzalez slashed .167/.244/.256 with two home runs and seven RBIs in March/April. But heading into Tuesday, he was hitting .349/.440/.512 with a pair of home runs and six RBIs in May.
His 15 hits heading into Tuesday already had surpassed his 13 from the first month of the season.
“I’ve been working hard since the beginning of the season. I’d hoped that I would figure it out before, but things are coming together,” Gonzalez said. “That’s a good sign. That’s a good thing for me. I’m happy that lately, I’ve been able to help the team on the offensive side. I hope to keep it going.”
Minor league tidbits
Infielder Nick Gordon has been placed on the injured list with a left adductor strain that he suffered during a game on Sunday.
Gordon, the Twins’ first round pick in 2014 and the team’s No. 10 prospect per MLBPipeline, began the season on the IL with gastritis. He played eight games before landing back on the IL, hitting .353/.389/.500 with 12 hits in those games.
His injury paved the way for a promotion for Luis Arraez, the team’s No. 17 prospect, who reached Triple-A for the first time after hitting .342 at Double-A Pensacola to begin the season.