Beginning with elbow soreness that temporarily shut him down during Spring Training, Adrian Gonzalez has endured a rough year. The Los Angeles Dodgers have twice put the veteran first baseman on the disabled list, with the first stint marking a career first.
Gonzalez was rushed back because of a season-ending injury to Andrew Toles, but the team has been much more methodical with his recovery a second time around. Gonzalez batted .254/.273/.380 with six doubles, one home run and 12 RBI in 20 games from May 18-June 11.
The herniated disc he’s suffering from is an issue that has crept up in previous years. There was initial hope Gonzalez would return prior to the All-Star break.
That opportunity passed, and he recently admitted the injury is not healing as quickly as he had hoped. In the event he continues to be saddled by discomfort, Gonzalez still plans to return in September, via Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times:
Put it this way: Even if I’m not quote-unquote 100%, I’m still going to go in September because what I have is what I have. If it doesn’t get better with all this time off, it’s not going to get better, so I might as well learn to play with medication.”
Gonzalez only recently began hitting off a tee, taking soft toss and going through stretching and throwing with the Dodgers during batting practice. Manager Dave Roberts projected he is still multiple weeks away from beginning a rehab assignment.
Gonzalez was not himself this season when attempting to play through injury, as he hit just .255/.304/.339 with 11 doubles, one home run and 23 RBIs in 49 games. Gonzalez’s .643 on-base plus slugging percentage would be the lowest clip of his career.
With how well the Dodgers are playing there is certainly no reason to rush Gonzalez back, even if it means his absence extends into September. As it stands, there’s hope for a return at some point in August.
Having Gonzalez healthy for the final month of the regular season could prove vital for the Dodgers’ World Series aspirations.