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March 13, 2013

FSU shortstop Justin Gonzalez out for season



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Florida State's team captain is out for the year.

FSU announced on Wednesday that senior shortstop Justin Gonzalez would miss the remainder of the season after having surgery on his right hip.

Gonzalez, who missed the last 11 games with the injury, did not travel with the team to Gainesville, Fla. for Tuesday's game at Florida. Instead the Miami native was in Colorado, hoping a second opinion on his hip would allow him to avoid surgery and return towards the end of the year.

But the doctors in Colorado agreed with his original assessment that surgery was the only option.

"I can't say that I'm totally surprised," FSU head coach Mike Martin said. "I was not optimistic when he went to Colorado. I knew that our (training staff) being as versed and as knowledgeable as they are, had not been optimistic so we're excited for him now that he's had the operation. We're looking for him to get better in the next six months and get ready to go next year."

Gonzalez was drafted in 27th round of the MLB draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers in June but opted to return for his senior season even after the rest of the Seminoles' infield turned pro.

He appeared in five games this season, hitting .278 with two homeruns, a triple and five RBI.

"Obviously, none of this was planned," said Gonzalez in a release from FSU. "It breaks my heart that I had to go through with the surgery. After meeting with doctors out in Colorado, there was no other option than to have the surgery."

Despite the fact that he won't play again this season, Gonzalez said he still plans to be the team's leader. He was named captain of the team when he announced his return for his senior year.

Even while he's been out with the injury, he has provided the young club with a sense of calm in the dugout during its 16-0 start.

"I will still serve as captain this year but it will just be in a different role," Gonzalez said. "I plan on being there to motivate and support my teammates throughout the season. There is one thing I know, I will be back; it will only be a matter of time."

In Gonzalez's absence, sophomore Giovanny Alfonzo has taken over the starting job at shortstop. At the plate Alfonzo is hitting .250 with two doubles and eight RBI after driving in two runs in a 4-1 win over Florida.

In the field Alfonzo has made some terrific plays, but also committed three errors in 39 fielding chances (.951 fielding percentage). With each game the sophomore has grown more confident in his role.

"I'm just a lot more comfortable," Alfonzo said. "Defensively I feel like I'm in the right spot now. I feel like I'm comfortable with the signs that I'm given out there. It's a little different from the practice reps in game reps, but I just feel in sync now."

Gonzalez does plan to seek a medical redshirt and return to school in 2014, but Martin said there is a chance he could opt to go pro at the end of the summer if the opportunity presents itself.

"It depends though whether or not he's going to be ready to play by August," Martin said. "I would think that somebody might still draft him and see if he wants to start playing possibly in September in an instructional league and then go into spring training. It's going to be totally up to him. We of course open him up with open arms, but we'll just see what the future holds."



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