The two-time All-Star looks to help the visiting Padres take their opening series with a victory Wednesday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Gonzalez hit .204 with no homers and one extra-base hit in spring training, but is now delivering when it counts. After hitting a career-high 40 home runs in 2009, Gonzalez has homered in each of San Diego’s first two games.
He’s 4 for 9 on the young season, and 10 for 20 with four home runs and eight RBIs in his last six games against the Diamondbacks.
“It was a tough spring,” said Gonzalez, who went 2 for 5 in a 6-3 win Tuesday to help the Padres even this three-game set. “But I’m feeling good at the plate and hopefully it will continue.”
The subject of numerous offseason trade rumors, Gonzalez has this season plus a club option for 2011 remaining on his deal with the Padres. After San Diego overcame a rough start to finish 37-25 down the stretch in 2009, Gonzalez feels confident the club can carry that success over to this year.
“We’re a good team,” said Gonzalez, who’s won two straight Gold Glove awards at first base. “Every game we go out there, we’re going to go out there with the mentality that we can win this.”
That was the case Tuesday as the Padres banged out 10 hits and received a six-inning, one-hit effort from starter Chris Young. Shortstop Everth Cabrera(notes) had three hits and matched a career high with four RBIs after going 0 for 3 in the opener.
“It’s good to get that first (win) out of the way,” Gonzalez said. “It’s very important to get a rubber game and have a chance to take the series.”
A former first-round pick of the Yankees, Kennedy makes his Arizona debut after missing most of last season following surgery to remove an aneurysm near his right shoulder.
Kennedy went 1-4 with a 6.03 ERA in 14 games for New York from 2007-2009. Arizona acquired him in the same three-team trade that netted Jackson - formerly of the Tigers.
“(I’m going to) take advantage of (pitching in the majors), because I’ve had it before, and when the season came around, I didn’t take advantage of it,” Kennedy told the Diamondbacks’ official Web site.
Correia is coming off a career year, as he went 12-11 with a 3.91 ERA in his first season in San Diego. The former San Francisco Giant led the Padres in wins and innings pitched (198).
Though the right-hander is a pedestrian 2-4 with a 3.70 ERA in nine starts against the Diamondbacks, he recorded his first career complete game and shutout in a 4-0 win at Arizona last Sept. 25.