Marwin, Astros reunite: 'We are like brothers'

September 5th, 2021

SAN DIEGO -- Three years after departing from the Astros as a free agent, has reunited with his former team.

Gonzalez rejoined the Astros at Petco Park on Saturday, when he was added to the taxi squad. The versatile switch-hitter then was activated on Sunday, and he hopes he can contribute as the season winds down.

“I'm hoping that I can go back into my form and make adjustments that I didn't make at the beginning of the season,” Gonzalez said. “[I’m] working hard and trying to get back to my form and trying to help the team in any way that I can.”

Gonzalez, 32, batted .202 with two home runs and 20 RBIs in 77 games with the Red Sox before he was designated for assignment on Aug. 13 and subsequently released. The Astros signed him to a Minor League contract on Aug. 27.

Gonzalez spent his first seven big league seasons with the Astros and delivered a game-tying home run in the ninth inning in Game 2 of the 2017 World Series. He signed as a free agent with the Twins in 2019.

Gonzalez said returning to the Astros clubhouse and seeing the likes of Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve and his other teammates from years past was no strange feeling.

“It feels good,” Gonzalez said. “I always kept in touch with them these few years. We saw a lot of each other the same way [like] when I was here. We are like brothers here.”

Before signing with the Astros, Gonzalez returned home to Miami last month to spend time with his kids. Once contract talks picked up, Gonzalez worked out in Miami and began to mentally prepare for another possible stint with Houston.

Before being activated, Gonzalez played in three Minor League games to help him work on his timing and patience at the plate.

Astros manager Dusty Baker managed against Gonzalez while Baker was the skipper of the Nationals in 2017. He knows how impactful of a player Gonzalez can be.

“When I was on the other side of field, I was always conscious of where Marwin Gonzalez was in the lineup, where he was on the field, who might they pinch-hit for and then move Marwin to that position,” Baker said. “I was always conscious of where Marwin was. ... He's an impact guy as much as anybody in baseball for a non-regular.

“I believe that he's still there because he's not old, he's not overweight and he hasn't lost the desire. I think there's still a lot in him. Just sometimes you have to re-create yourself.”

With the Astros entering Sunday 5 1/2 games in front of the A’s and Mariners in the American League West, Baker believes Gonzalez’s experience in pennant races brings another impact to his ballclub.

“A lot of times your best players aren’t always your leaders,” Baker said. “And sometimes your leader is a role player. It depends a lot on that person's personality to affect others in a positive note, and I feel that Marwin is one of those.

“These don't show up in the stat sheet, they don't show up in the mathematics. They show up under team leadership.”