Carlos Alonso played the game of baseball hard and never backed away from trying to take an extra base or sacrifice his body to make a play. He had hoped that his style of play would make up for the lack of big-time power, speed or the ability to play Gold Glove defense. Unfortunately, it didn't, and at just 28 years old, Alonso read the writing on the wall late in what has been a weird season for the infielder.
Alonso opened the season with Lehigh Valley, but would bounce back and forth between the IronPigs and Double-A Reading. The latest move came on Sunday when Alonso was placed on the DL with a shin contusion, which is many times code for "we don't really have a roster spot for you, but we don't want to release you, so we'll put you on the DL." It's the same "injury" that ended the playing career of Jorge Velendia six years ago, when he too realized that he was waking up from his dream of playing in the majors.
Like Velandia, Alonso quickly chose another path and the Phillies obliged. Alonso will spend the rest of the season as a coach on manager Pat Borders' staff with the Williamsport Crosscutters. Velandia did the same thing and wound up as a Crosscutters coach for two seasons before moving into the Phillies front office, where he now serves as a special assistant in the player personnel department.
For Alonso, the future isn't fully mapped out just yet. He's using the rest of the season to see how he feels about coaching, which would allow him to at least stay in baseball.
“Walking through the clubhouse, I can feel them look at me as kind of a teammate, but also this older guy and it's like we should probably listen to him," Alonso told Mitch Rupert of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette. I think if I can just influence a couple guys in a positive manner and help them with their careers, that would be a plus.”
Alonso finishes his playing career having played in 486 minor league games in seven seasons since the Phillies drafted him in the 32nd round of the 2010 Draft. His final line stands at 24-183-.270.
Even though he fell short of his dream of playing in the majors and his playing days came to an end pretty abruptly, Alonso doesn't have time or thoughts of any regrets about his career. Alonso is simply a guy being realistic about his future, while being proud of how he prepared for the game and how he played it on the field.
“I know I did everything I could in my power. I think the hardest part to swallow is I think I had a lot of talent and I could compete with those guys," Alonso told Rupert. "But I think it's time at my age, and I think I'm choosing what's best for me moving forward.”
Read Mitch Rupert's full interview with Carlos Alonso.