DURHAM, NC- Former Major League infielder Alberto Gonzalez is headed back to affiliated baseball. Less than a season after joining the independent ranks, the Wichita Wingnuts infielder has been sold to the Detroit Tigers organization. Gonzalez is expected to join the Class AA Erie Seawolves, who are in the midst of a road series at the Altoona Curve (Pittsburgh Pirates).
Gonzalez was hitting .296 with Wichita (37-for-125). He had collected 10 doubles, a triple, a home run and 13 RBI this season along with 12 stolen bases. The Maracaibo, Venezuela native registered 10 multi-hit games during his tenure in Wichita, including a 4-for-4 game on June 9 in Laredo, Tex. against the Laredo Lemurs. In that contest, a 14-7 Wingnuts victory, Gonzalez notched a pair of doubles, his lone home run, three RBI and three runs scored. Gonzalez also had a 3-for-4 night on June 13 against the Lincoln Saltdogs in a 1-0 home victory at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. That game started a five-game hit streak for Gonzalez, his longest of the season. In total, Gonzalez recorded a hit in 23 of his 30 games this season.
2015 was Gonzalez’s first year in the independent ranks, coming over from the Mexican League and the San Diego Padres organization, where he played in 2014. Gonzalez initially broke into professional baseball in 2004 with the South Bend SilverHawks, then an Arizona Diamondbacks class A affiliate. Gonzalez hit .238 that season with 15 doubles, six triples and two home runs. He returned to South Bend in 2005, and raised his batting average to .318 with 42 RBI. A season later, Gonzalez reached as high as Class AAA Tucson in the Arizona system, though he spent a majority of the season at Class AA Tennessee. Gonzalez was acquired by the New York Yankees in the offseason and spent the majority of 2007 with the Class AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees. He had 21 doubles and 35 RBI in 106 games. Gonzalez earned a September call-up to the Major Leagues and made his debut on September 1, 2007. In 12 games in 2007, he collected a hit and an RBI.
2008 saw Gonzalez return to Class AAA for 47 games. He also appeared in 28 games with the Yankees before being traded to the Washington Nationals. Gonzalez hit an impressive .347 in 17 games with the Nationals, and also played in eight games with the AAA Columbus Clippers.
Gonzalez bounced between the Major Leagues and AAA again in 2009, but spent a majority of his time with the Nationals. In 105 MLB games, he hit .265 with 16 doubles, three triples, a home run and 33 RBI. Gonzalez spent the entirety of 2010 with the Nationals, hitting .247 with 32 RBI in 114 games. He was traded to the San Diego Padres after the 2010 season, and spent the 2011 campaign there. In 102 games, he hit .215. Gonzalez appeared sparingly in 2012, playing only 24 games with the Texas Rangers and 14 more with Class AAA Round Rock. He returned to the Yankees system in 2013, playing 55 games with Scranton Wilkes-Barre and 13 with the Major League club. He also spent time that season with the Chicago Cubs, appearing both in the majors and with Class AAA Iowa.
Gonzalez becomes the second Wingnut to be sold this year, joining LHP Jarret Leverett, who went to the San Francisco Giants in May. Wichita is currently 18-12, tied for the lead in the American Association’s South Division. They open a home series with the Joplin Blasters tonight with a 5:05 p.m. CT doubleheader.