Gonzalez healthy, ready to contribute to Mets

A year after being limited by back injury, A-Gon 'excited' for 2018

February 6th, 2018

GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- The reviews are in, and critics from Los Angeles to New York and Mexico can all agree on one thing: nailed his role as "El Titan" in his movie debut.

Gonzalez, 35, who played himself during a cameo in the family-friendly baseball film "108 Costuras," appeared Monday night in Mexico for the movie's premiere and to show his support for the Caribbean Series held this week at Estadio de Beisbol Charros de Jalisco.

"I got to play myself, so that was easy," Gonzalez said. "I didn't have to do any actual acting. It was just talking. It was good. It was fun."

Gonzalez's good buddy, Dodgers outfielder , also walked the red carpet at the Conjunto de Artes Escenicas with the stars and producers of the film. Puig later signed autographs for the children in attendance and took photos with fans. Mexico continues to be a special place for the Cuban. Puig established residency in the country -- the first step to becoming a free agent -- after he defected from Cuba in 2012.

"I love this country and the people here," Puig said in Spanish. "They gave me the best they had when I was trying to find my way and just coming from Cuba. The Mexican people have always supported me in my years with the Dodgers, so I have a lot of gratitude and lot of love for them."

As for Gonzalez, he will return to his day job and new role later this month, when the Mets report to Spring Training in Florida. Position players are scheduled to report Feb. 17, with the first full-squad workout scheduled for Feb. 19.

He might not be the player he once was, but the veteran's track record speaks for itself. He's also completely healthy.

A five-time All-Star, Gonzalez finished in the top 10 in MVP voting three times. He hit .285 with 18 homers and played in at least 156 games for the 11th consecutive season in 2016, but he didn't fare nearly as well last season. In 2017, Gonzalez batted just .242 with three home runs and a .642 OPS in 71 games, as he struggled through a back injury.

"I'm ready to go and happy," Gonzalez said. "I'm excited about the season, and we'll see what happens."

Gonzalez usually skips the annual tournament of winter league champions, but he did play in one Caribbean Series in 2009 in Mexicali, Mexico. He hit .286 with eight RBIs that year and set a tournament record with three home runs in one game. , Adrian's brother, also had two hits and scored twice in that memorable win against the Dominican Republic.

"I'll never forget that tournament," said Edgar Gonzalez, who is currently a vice president with the Mexican League's Charros de Jalisco and an executive with Team Mexico. "One of the most exciting parts was that he won the home run and RBIs title while I won the batting title. We won the triple crown and do it in Mexicali, so close to home was cool."

The Gonzalezes are the only pair of brothers with multi-home run games in Caribbean Series history.

"Those are memories that I will never forget," Adrian said. "That game in particular against the Dominican was a lot of fun."

Overall, it's been an eventful offseason for Gonzalez. He was traded to the Braves in December as part of a five-player deal and then released. He signed with the Mets last month, and although he is expected to get plenty of playing time, part of Gonzalez's job will be to mentor , the club's first baseman of the future.

He's up for the challenge. He also doesn't have any regrets about the past.

"Everything was incredible [with the Dodgers]," Gonzalez said. "The thing I will remember are the fans more than anything. It was a great five years."