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Adrian Gonzalez on D&H: ‘I need to hit the ball in the air’

12.06.10 at 1:05 pm ET
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New Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez checked in with the Dale & Holley show Monday, shortly after his introductory press conference at Fenway Park. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Gonzalez reiterated that his hometown Padres and the Red Sox have always been his two favorite teams. “If you are going to get traded and if you are going to go somewhere else, my choice was always Boston,” he said. “So, very exciting day today that I’m able to go the place where I want to be if I’m not in San Diego.”

Gonzalez talked about playing in cavernous Petco Park and how he expects a boost switching to the more comfortable Fenway Park. Said Gonzalez: “I know that most of my outs in the air are to left field, so that’s something to look forward to. … I let the ball get deep, I hit the ball in the air to left field. My No. 1 goal at the plate is to get the ball in the air. I don’t want to hit it on the ground. You’ll find out, I’m very slow. Speed is not part of my game. So, for me to have success, I need to hit the ball in the air. When you put the short fence here, with the Green Monster, I’m excited about the possibility of a lot of those outs turning into hits.”

Despite the Red Sox moving in the right field fence nine feet, Gonzalez said he won’t change his approach at the plate and attempt to pull the ball. “It’s one of those things where the only time I’ll ever look to go to right field is when the pitcher forces me, because they’re able to control the inside part of the plate and get to two strikes in doing so,” he said. “You’ll notice that I’ll give every pitcher the inside part of the plate until they prove that they’re going to force me to swing at it. Most pitchers can go in there once and won’t go in there for a strike a second time. So, you just wait for them to go to the other side of the plate.”

Despite battling some injuries — incuding a shoulder issue that required offseason surgery — Gonzalez managed to play in 160 games last season. He indicated that approach will not change. “I want to be on the field,” he said. “I’m a player that doesn’t rely on speed, and I’m a first baseman. At times you go through a whole game and there’s very little movement. So, you can play hurt at that position. I want to play. I want to be on the field. And I’m going to do everything possible every single day to be on that field. My goal is to play 162 games and play every playoff game every year.”

Gonzalez explained that his father and his two brothers were talented baseball players (one brother, Edgar was a Padres teammate for two seasons), and his family’s influence was a key to his success. This included family sessions learning about standout players of years past, such as San Diego native Ted Williams. “Baseball’s been in my family since I was born,” he said. “We breathe baseball, we live baseball. Instead of watching a movie at home, we were watching games from the past. You just learn so much from those experiences, from watching my brothers, from watching everybody.”

The topic of contract negotiations was brought up, and Gonzalez said there simply wasn’t time to finalize an extension before finishing the trade. “I think the biggest problem is the fact that it was a very short window,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that go into a contract negotiation other than just numbers. When it came down to having numbers be thrown back and forth, it was just too short a window. There wasn’t very much things done in that regard. It was one of those things where the relationship, the way we were able to get to know one another on both ends, we felt very confident, given that we’re going to have a full year to get things done, we’re going to be able to get something done. … We felt very confident about giving each other our word that we’re going to talk during the season and we’re going to get something done.”

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