“One of my big, key points, especially in spring training, is to work with Dominic on defense and just kind of the mind-set, and tell him all my experiences and everything I’ve done,” Gonzalez said on a conference call with reporters. “I’m looking forward to that adventure, and Dominic as well, so I can help him become the best major leaguer he can be.”
In doing so, Gonzalez could counter a reputation he earned with the Red Sox in 2011 and 2012. Gonzalez played well for Boston, but some considered him a divisive clubhouse presence. On Thursday, he said that after the Red Sox collapsed down the stretch in his first season there, he felt pressure to be vocal in 2012.
“I had a lot of opinions that year, but I don’t think it is who I am,” Gonzalez said, adding later: “I became a person that I didn’t want to be. After the 2012 season, when I was traded to L.A., I made a commitment to myself to not be somebody that somebody else wants me to be, and just be who I am.”
Though the Mets have signed right fielder Jay Bruce to a three-year, $39 million contract, they avoided an expensive deal for a free-agent first baseman like Eric Hosmer — a Keith Hernandez-style player who has excelled for Kansas City — or Logan Morrison, who hit 38 homers for Tampa Bay last season.
Despite his durability before last season, Gonzalez’s back injury is clearly concerning. He altered his training this winter, he said, and he feels strong.
“I’m so used to, my whole career, doing heavy weights and working out really hard,” Gonzalez said. “This year, it’s been a little bit of a change. I’m doing more Pilates, more stretching, a lot of water aerobics and things like that. I’m also focusing on conditioning and obviously my core program for my back. I’ve been feeling really good; it’s responding really well. For 2018, I’m going to continue to do that, and it’ll be a good transition.”