This Luis Gonzalez Does Have A Good Arm

The media that cover the Dodgers have been full of concerned stories about the strength (or lack thereof) of the arm of Luis Gonzalez. Which might cause a player named that to react angrily before he realizes that they're not talking about him.

That's because the man they're talking about is, of course, the outfielder currently playing left field for L.A. But there's another player named Luis Gonzalez that the Dodgers also employ - a lefthanded pitcher who might well be be in question although relative arm strength isn't the issue. No, that's actually his prime asset.

This one's name is Luis Enrique Gonzalez and he's currently stationed in the bullpen for Las Vegas. He's one of five players named Luis Gonzalez currently listed in organized ball to add to the confusion. There's also five named Jose Gonzalez although none of them are Dodgers at present. They do have two named Juan Gonzalez, though.

      This is the second year for Luis Enrique at Vegas where he's served a multiple of roles since joining the team, all in relief- long man, setup man and, upon occasion, closer. They do love his arm strength which can propel a ball plateward in the low-to-mid 90's. His fast ball is his big pitch, one he moves around a lot with good life to it. He also throws a slider with effect.

     This Luis was an outfielder at one time. A native of Puerto Rico, he had come to these shores to attend Florida Air Academy, which is located in Melbourne, a city between Vero Beach and Daytona Beach. There he patrolled the field until his senior year when that as noted good arm brought him to the mound.

    That high school team featured a hitter named Prince Fielder so,  naturally, scouts were swarming around their every game. The Dodgers' Doug Carpenter got a look at this Gonzalez and liked what he saw so he was chosen in the 11th round of the 2001 draft.

   He became a relief specialist at the outset and, as such, worked his way up to Jacksonville in 2005 where he particularly excelled for the team adjudged the best in the minors that year. He certainly helped them win that honor by pitching in 41 games in which he was 7-2 with a 2.21 earned run average. Hitters managed only a feeble .165 mark against him.

   That didn't gain him a spot on the big club but it did earn him a shot at The Show for the Rockies claimed him in the Rule 5 draft that December. Then the Mariners got into matters for Bill Bavasi, the general manager of that team, had been L.A.'s farm director before that and, in that stead, he'd developed an appreciation of Gonzalez. So, he made a deal with the Rockies for him.

  Luis hung around the Mariners for awhile but eventually was crowded out. Under the rules, they had to offer him back to the Dodgers who were glad to arrange for his return. Thus, he wound up in Vegas last summer.

  Not to prosper, particularly as most pitchers don't in that hitters' haven. He was only 2-4 with a 5.52 ERA  so, again, wasn't promoted. This time no one drafted him.

  He may have been passed over but he's not entirely forgotten. There's that strong arm, you see. He  turned 24 in February and is now trying to show that he could help out up above as perhaps a situational lefty.

  His first 2007 effort didn't turn out well. He was sent in to hold on in a tie and, instead, threw a home run ball to account for one of the three losses the 51's have been tagged with so far. But you know the bullpen mantra, forget it and go back out there again.

   This Luis Gonzalez can do that with the knowledge that  he's got the arm to make matters better. Those stories aren't about him , after all.

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