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D'Backs Give Gonzo Extension

Luis Gonzalez was rewarded for his career season with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday by signing a three-year, $12.5 million contract extension.

The deal includes a fourth year at $4 million at the club's option. The contract includes a $1 million signing bonus.

"To me, this is like a dream come true to be somewhere where I'm really happy," Gonzalez said before the Diamondbacks opened an important three-game series with the San Francisco Giants on Monday night.

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The 31-year-old left-fielder, obtained in a trade from Detroit in the off-season for Karim Garcia, earned $2 million this season, $500,000 of which was paid by the Tigers as part of the deal.

He got off to a hot start and has stayed hot all season. Gonzalez, a career .268 hitter before this season, is hitting .346, third-best in the NL behind Larry Walker (.367) and Sean Casey (.354).

Gonzalez leads the league in hits with 140. He has 17 home runs, 38 doubles and 71 RBIs.

Gonzalez had a 30-game hitting streak, the longest in the majors this season, and was named to the All-Star Game for the first time in his career.

Gonzalez, who has played for four big-league teams in his nine major league seasons, said he had no desire to test the free agent market after this season.

"It just felt like too good of a fit to even test the waters out there. Regardless of whether I could have made more money or less money or whatever, I'm happy here. My wife's happy here," Gonzalez said. "Everything's first class here. I didn't want to go anywhere else."

Jerry Colangelo, the Diamondacks' managing general partner, is known for his generosity to players both with the baseball team and his Phoenix Suns of the NBA. He said that Gonzalez's outgoing personality added to his value. Bilingual because his parents were born in Cuba, his friendly attitude in two languages has meant a lot to the chemistry of the Diamondbacks, who are in first place in the NL West in just their second season.

"To say that he's taken advantage of this opportunity is an understatement," Colangelo said. "He's had an unbelievable year for us, and making the all-star team was a tremendous accomplishment. But I'll tell you, above and beyond all of his fetes on the field, what he is as an individual means more than anything."

Gonzalez said the new contract is good news to the triplets who were born in June of last year and whose pictures adorn his locker.

"The triples, they don't know it yet, but they're pretty happy," he said. "When their mom and dad are happy, I'm sure they're happy, too."

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