Gonzalez brothers team up for Mexico

Gonzalez brothers team up for Mexico

SAN DIEGO -- Normally at this time of year, Edgar Gonzalez is busy readying himself for the start of Spring Training.

This year, though, the Padres' infielder is playing for much more than a spot on the team's 25-man roster. He's playing for his county -- twice, in fact.

Starting Monday, Gonzalez and his younger brother, All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, will represent Mexico while playing for Mazatlan in the 51st Caribbean World Series in Mexicali.

In March, the Gonzalez brothers will again represent Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. But for now, Edgar Gonzalez is focused on helping Mazatlan capture the Caribbean World Series, a feat Mexico hasn't pulled off since 2005.

"It's pretty fun that Adrian and I get a chance to win the whole thing," Gonzalez said of the four-team tournament, which runs from Monday to Saturday at the 16,500-seat Estadio Casas GEO in Mexicali, which is about two hours East of San Diego just across the international border.

Aside from Mazatlan, teams from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela will compete.

The Caribbean World Series offers a double round-robin format. The champion is the team with the best won-loss record after six days of play. If there is a tie for first place, a championship game will be played Feb. 8.

The Caribbean World Series will mark the first live games shown on the one-month-old MLB Network.

"We grew up watching the Mexican Pacific League and my dad grew up cheering for that league as well," Edgar Gonzalez said.

Edgar Gonzalez played in four games with Mazatlan and then during its playoff sweep of Mochis to earn the right to represent Mexico in the Caribbean World Series. Adrian Gonzalez, who was an All-Star and Gold Glove winner for the first time for San Diego in 2008, joined the team on Jan. 1.

Edgar Gonzalez said many of the same faces on his Mazatlan team will also represent Mexico in March in the World Baseball Classic, though that team, he said, will have more "reinforcements" and that the team that plays in Mexicali next week is more representative of the team that played in the Mexican Pacific League this winter.

"It will be like a mini-preview of the WBC, but the only difference is the Caribbean World Series is not full of All-Star teams. It's the best team from that league," Edgar Gonzalez said.

Aside from playing for his country, Edgar Gonzalez is excited to see what kind of reception his team gets from what is expected to be a near-capacity crowd in Mexicali.

"I expect a pretty crazy atmosphere. From what I know, it's almost sold out and there will be like 20,000 fans in the stadium. It's going to be pretty awesome," he said. "Making to it to the Major Leagues was my goal every year, but this is big because you're playing for your country."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.