Edwar Gonzalez first time at Triple-A might be a new experience, but for him it's still just about continuing to do his job and be there when he's needed.
"There's not much difference. I know most of these guys here too," he said by telephone during a bus trip to Columbus, Ohio for Game 1 of the International League playoffs. "It makes it easier knowing them."
Gonzalez, who signed as a free agent with the Yankees in 2002, has had to ride the bench more than he preferred this season and was on the DL two different times, but he never lost his discipline. His first assignment with the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees comes at a prime moment. The SWB Yankees are in the playoffs, as are the Trenton Thunder, and he's just hoping to do his part.
"It's the way it's been the whole year, but I'm prepared for it," he said of coming off the bench.
While there are many things that feel similar, Gonzalez says there are some noticeable differences.
"The stadiums are a little better and the guys are older. They don't need to be told what to do. They do it because they're more experienced and don't need people telling them how they need to get things done as much," he said.
At twenty-seven he also has a bit of a different status when he looks around at his teammates and other teams in the more seasoned International League.
"At Trenton a lot of times I was one of the older guys and here there are many guys a lot older and more experienced than me," he said.
As he approaches free agency, he reiterates what he said earlier this year.
"I don't know where I'll wind up. I think about it. But I don't know if I'll be with the Yankees or another team. I'll play in winter ball and see what happens."