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Settling In

DENVER–Bernie Gonzalez turns himself into a very good hitter, once he gets acclimated to new surroundings.

Gonzalez continued the pattern in his second year in the Rockies system. He was hitting .350-5-28 in 143 at-bats for low Class A Asheville, with 17 doubles, three triples and five steals.

That improved upon his 2002 rookie season, when he got used to the pro ranks with .283-3-36 numbers for short-season Tri-City.

Given the opportunity to adjust, Gonzalez shows the ability to hit well. The 14th-round pick in the 2002 draft did the same thing at the college level. After transferring to Florida International from Palm Beach Community College in 2001, the Miami product struggled through a .219 season in 17 games of spot duty as a junior. In his senior season, he blossomed to a .323-10-62 season in 56 games.

Gonzalez, 23, has always hit when he settles in. He was an all-conference outfielder as a sophomore at the junior college level with a .347 average. His senior year at Miami’s Brito Private School, he hit .445-12-45.

Gonzalez has tools other than his bat. "I actually take more pride in my arm than I do my bat," he said. "Whether it’s running down a ball in the gap or throwing a guy out at third, those are the things that will help us win."

The good start to the season is not changing plans for Gonzalez, whose 25 extra-base hits led the South Atlantic League by four over former FIU teammate Brad Eldred, now with Hickory. "I’ll get to the big leagues when my talents allow me to get there," he said. "I’m in no hurry."

Rocky Roads

• The Rockies released righthander Chandler Martin, whose history with the organization goes back to 1995 as a sixth-round choice. Martin, 29, went 0-0, 3.93 at Double-A Tulsa.

• Lefthander Justin Hampson was named the Rockies’ minor league pitcher of the month for April. Hampson went 4-0, 2.21 for high Class A Visalia.

• Previous organization report: Justin Hampson

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