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BSN Exclusive: Carlos Gonzalez returns to Rockies with "unfinished business"

Drew Creasman Avatar
March 24, 2018

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – When Carlos Gonzalez stood before reporters after the Colorado Rockies loss in the 2017 National League Wild Card Game with tears in his eyes and ache in his voice, it seemed like the end.

He talked about what the team has meant to him on a human level. He’s found plenty of fame and fortune in purple pinstripes, but more than that he found a family.

After a long and tense offseason in which his departure to one of the other 29 teams in MLB felt like a foregone conclusion, it was suddenly—and somewhat surprisingly—announced that the man they call CarGo would be bringing the prettiest swing in baseball back to Denver.

One of the most important and recognizable faces in franchize history, Gonzalez has taken on a father-figure type role in this family. And as difficult as it would have been for some fans to see him pull on another uniform, it might have been even harder for Gonzalez himself.

Now that he’s back, he isn’t hiding his glee.

“It’s a blessing,” he says. “Not too many people can say they spent an entire decade with an organization, so it’s gonna be really special. Just being on the line for Opening Day, there’s gonna be a lot of feelings. I’m excited in general. Just being around these guys.”

We’ve all seen the pictures of Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado reuniting by now… but they’re worth another look.

CarGo says it is these relationships, more than anything else, that made him want to come back so much and the pictures like these and comments made by Arenado and others even before the return was official show that the feeling is mutual.

“I pretty much watched them grow up,” Gonzalez says. “DJ, Blackmon, Nolan, Story, so many guys who were in the minor leagues when I was playing for the Rockies. Getting the opportunity to keep playing with them and watch them grow and become All-Stars is a really good feeling.”

With all the questions about his employment for the following year out of the way, it’s time to get back to the business of baseball. Gonzalez finished with a fury in 2017 and is focused on picking up where he left off.

“At this point,” he says, “We focus more on where you’re at physically, where you’re at mentally, seeing the ball well, running the bases, how you’re body reacts. All of that is in order. I feel great. I’m in great shape. My mind is in the right spot, and when it comes to the game, I’m seeing the ball well, I’m making hard contact.”

Just prior to our conversation, he launched a vintage CarGo homer, 105 mph off the bat, landing midway up the lawn in right at Salt River Fields.

“Obviously, you want to see the results too, and it was definitely nice to see the ball go over the fence today,” he laughed.

I asked if, now that he and Arenado have gone back-to-back if that is what truly made the return official.

“Of course, man,” he replied. “It’s nice to be hitting behind Nolan. He’s obviously one of the best players in the game right now. He’s swinging it well.”

Manager Bud Black tells us that CarGo worked out hard and showed up, once signed, ready to go. The goal now is to get him enough reps to be ready for full game speed by the start of the regular season.

“That regular season is just around the corner, and we’re getting there,” says CarGo. And they will need to be ready.

For all the good vibes flowing around this story, Gonzalez came back to the Colorado Rockies to get a job done. That job? Building on the success from a year ago.

“Unfinished business,” he says. “This year we’re more hungry, we’re trying to be better. These guys are not young guys anymore, they got that taste of the postseason, and they want more.”

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