His presence in Albuquerque may be a little surprising.
His production has been a huge boost to the suddenly surging Albuquerque Isotopes.
Yonder Alonso, the 32-year-old former all star with Oakland who was playing with the Chicago White Sox until being released on July 3, continued looking the part of a MLB-ready slugger in Wednesday night’s 9-4 Isotopes win over the visiting Fresno Grizzlies.
It was win No. 6 in the seven games for the Isotopes (43-54) since last week’s Pacific Coast League All-Star game with Alonso starting at first base in all of them.
On Wednesday, in front of an announced crowd of 10,225, Alonso was 2-for-3 at the plate with a triple, his first since 2015, and a three-run home run, his first with the Isotopes in seven games since being signed by the parent-club Colorado Rockies as a free agent July 10.
“I feel good,” said Alonso, whose seven-game batting average with the team is .417. “My work has been really, really good. I’ve been working with the staff here and they’ve been amazing.
“Timmy (Isotopes hitting coach Tim Doherty) has been great. I think my focus level is really good. On a personal note, I’m just trying to stay ready. Trying to help the team in any way possible and understand that I can bring value to this team, for sure.”
Though it’s been a small sample size, Alonso has certainly looked the part of a worthy midseason pickup for the Rockies, who have taken swings on such veterans in past years (Ryan Howard in 2017 and Matt Holiday in 2018).
Alonso, who was born in Cuba and was a first-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds out of University of Miami in 2008, has played in 10 MLB seasons for the Reds, San Diego Padres, Oakland A’s, Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians and the White Sox.
This season through 67 games with the White Sox in which he wasn’t playing every day, he was hitting .178 with seven homers, 27 RBIs and 53 strikeouts before being released.
“I wasn’t playing,” Alonso said when asked about the struggles the first half of the season with Chicago. “It was a hard thing — not playing every day. I’ve proven to people that I can be an every-day player, be a player that can provide a lot on the game side, in the clubhouse and in the dugout.”
And now with the Isotopes, he feels he can get back to his old ways that made him an MLB regular, including his 2017 all-star season that included 28 homers split between the A’s and Mariners.
He hopes it’s enough for the Rockies to take a chance on him, too.
“I think everybody here wants to get called up,” Alonso said. “I just need to focus on staying ready and helping these guys win.”
BATTING PRACTICE: The Isotopes have skipped on-field batting practice ahead of all six of their wins since the All-Star break. They were shut out on Saturday in El Paso the one time they took batting practice on the field before the game.
In the six wins without batting practice on the field, the Isotopes have scored 56 runs with 81 hits and 15 home runs.
HOT DOG MANIA: The Isotopes’ first of two 50-cent hot dog night promotions of the season was canceled due to a rain out on April 17.
Albuquerque apparently was waiting.
Wednesday night, the announced Isotopes Park crowd of 10,225 purchased a reported 35,174 hot dogs. That’s an average of 3.44 hot dogs per fan in the park or, as the Isotopes pointed out on social media Wednesday night, about 3.3 miles of hot dogs lined up end to end.