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By Jon Weisman
Adrian Gonzalez and Zack Greinke have each won their first Gold Gloves as Dodgers.
Gonzalez, who earned two Gold Gloves with San Diego and one with Boston, had 12 defensive runs saved, tops in the NL and 50 percent more than runners-up Justin Morneau and Matt Adams. Gonzalez also tied for first among NL first basemen in assists with 118 and led in putouts with 1,318.
Greinke, known for years as one of the most athletic pitchers in baseball, followed up his Silver Slugger-winning 2013 season by beating out teammate Clayton Kershaw for the Gold Glove. Greinke led all NL pitchers in putouts with 28 and was a narrow second behind Miami’s Henderson Alvarez in range factor. He was also tied for third in defensive runs saved with five (Kershaw led with seven).
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Update: Gonzalez praised Greinke on a conference call with reporters after the awards were announced.
“We have a bunch of pitchers that can really field their position,” Gonzalez said. “Zack is one of them – he’s shown since he’s been here that his athletic ability is incredible. He can do anything – he’s a guy you can put at any position on the field and he’s going to do a good job with it. He’s a guy who has an incredible feel for the game. When he’s pitching he positions us – tells us exactly where he wants us.”
I asked Gonzalez if fielding skills were easier to maintain than hitting skills as his career marched on.
“The best way to describe it is nobody’s hitting the ball any harder (when you’re on defense),” he said. “Pitchers are pitching the ball a lot harder compared to when I first came up.”
“Defensively, I think, experience plays a bigger role. Learning how to position yourself, knowing where to be, not relying as much on pure athleticism and pure range. Wally (bench coach Tim Wallach) does a great job of positioning me.”