PEORIA, Ariz. -- Because he can play a premium position, shortstop, Alberto Gonzalez was faced with multiple potential landing spots this offseason, as several teams expressed an interest in signing him to a Minor League deal.
When the Padres showed interest, Gonzalez jumped at the chance to return to the team that employed him during the 2011 season, when he hit .215 and had a career-best 32 RBIs.
"I'm happy here, a lot of the players are still here. They're friends and it's a good staff and a very good manager," Gonzalez said on Tuesday.
Gonzalez played in more than 20 games each at shortstop, second base and third base in 2011. And even though his average in 247 at-bats wasn't much to look at, he did hit .278 with runners in scoring position and .311 with RISP and two outs.
Gonzalez was acquired at the end of Spring Training in 2011 by then-general manager Jed Hoyer in order to bolster the infield depth. The move allowed the Padres the chance to send Everth Cabrera to Triple-A to get more at-bats after he struggled badly in 2010.
This offseason, the Padres signed Gonzalez on a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training. He will get a chance to make the team as an extra infielder, but there will be plenty of competition in camp.
Coming back was the easy part. Now he's got to find a way to stay.
"They know me, so this is better for me that a lot of people here know me," he said.