In a surprising turn of events, former Red Sox utility man Marwin Gonzalez was added to the Astros’ World Series roster on Tuesday, shortly before their clash against the Braves begins at Minute Maid Park.
Gonzalez was left off both Houston’s American League Division Series and Championship Series rosters, but was added to the club’s World Series squad on account of rookie outfielder Jake Meyers being sidelined with a left shoulder injury.
The versatile 32-year-old initially signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Red Sox right at the beginning of spring training in late February and opened the 2021 season on their Opening Day roster.
While he got consistent playing time all over the field, Gonzalez struggled to the tune of a .205/.286/.297 slash line to go along with 14 doubles, two home runs, 18 RBI, 23 runs scored, three stolen bases, 17 walks and 61 strikeouts over his first 70 games (246 plate appearances) with Boston before being placed on the 10-day injured list due to a right hamstring strain on July 16.
That hamstring strain held Gonzalez out of action for nearly a month, as the switch-hitter did not return to the Red Sox until early August and was later designated for assignment on Aug. 13 as a result of his prolonged offensive struggles.
After clearing waivers and becoming a free agent, Gonzalez inked a minor-league pact with his former team in the Astros on Aug. 27 and had his contract selected by the big-league club nine days later.
Revered in Houston for helping the Astros win their first World Series title over the Dodgers in 2017, Gonzalez went 5-for-34 (.176) at the plate with three homers, eight RBI, five runs scored, one walk, and eight strikeouts across 14 games before the regular season ended on October 3.
While Gonzalez has not played in a game in over three weeks, he can still provide value to the Astros in the upcoming Fall Classic as someone who hits from both sides of the plate, play a plethora of defensive positions, and is well-versed in postseason baseball.
“The decision was Meyers is not healthy to play,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said on Tuesday. “Marwin is a switch-hitter. He gives me a lot of flexibility in positions, and he has World Series experience, so you know he’s not going to be like in awe of the game or the situation.”
Gonzalez is not in Houston’s lineup for Game 1 of this best-of-seven World Series against the Braves, but he could be used more during the portion of this series that will take place in a National League Ballpark — where pitchers hit — in Atlanta.
(Picture of Marwin Gonzalez: Bob Levey/Getty Images)