The 2017 season has not been kind to Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. He was bothered by forearm soreness during Spring Training and it lingered into the season. While attempting to play through that, Gonzalez also suffered from a chronic bulging disc.
Together, the injuries limited his power, compromised his swing, and thus production at the plate. Gonzalez ultimately was put on the disabled list in May for the first time in his 14-year career.
A season-ending knee injury to Andrew Toles forced Gonzalez to return quicker than was originally planned. He’s since fallen victim to back trouble and landed on the DL a second time this season.
Gonzalez underwent an MRI that revealed nothing more than his pre-existing injury. He nonetheless sought a second opinion that reaffirmed the disc issue. That may lead to Gonzalez now receiving an epidural injection, via Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
The second opinion on Adrian Gonzalez’s lower back matched the first, Roberts said. Gonzalez has a herniated disk and could take a pain-killing epidural injection to ease his discomfort.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts previously indicated Gonzalez was expected to avoid surgery, but a timetable for his return remained unclear. That still holds true, as does the possibility of the 35-year-old not coming off the disabled list until after the All-Star break.
Gonzalez received an epidural in May 2016 to ease back pain and continued to play for the remainder of the season with only occasional days off. Roberts hoped to convince him of taking more days off for rest this year.
In 49 games this season, Gonzalez is slugging at a career-low pace, batting .255/.304/.339 with just one home run and 23 RBIs.
Fortunately for the Dodgers the emergence of both Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor this season allows them to be cautious with Gonzalez to ensure he is healthy down the stretch of the season and a possible pennant race.
With Joc Pederson now activated off the seven-day concussion DL, it moved Taylor to left field and Bellinger to his natural position of first base.