When the Los Angeles Dodgers were eliminated from the National League Division Series by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2014, Adrian Gonzalez didn’t wait long before he began preparing for the 2015 season.
The Dodgers first baseman took three days off to rest, then picked up with a training program that included boxing. It’s a workout Gonzalez had been doing for multiple years in effort to strengthen his core and improve conditioning.
Gonzalez went on to appear in 156 games last season, batting .275/.350/.480 with 28 home runs, 33 doubles, 90 RBIs, a .354 wOBA and 129 wRC+.
The left-handed slugger began the year on a torrid pace, becoming the first player in Major League Baseball history to hit five home runs in his team’s first three games.
After another postseason run that ended in the NLDS, Gonzalez is quickly back in the gym — Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club to be specific. Gonzalez believes he benefits more from boxing than lifting weights, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times:
“I find I get more work and better work out of this than lifting weights,” Gonzalez said. “This gets my core strong, my shoulders strong, my back strong, which are three of the things I need most in baseball.”
Gonzalez will turn 34 in May and next season will mark his 13th in the Majors. The veteran first baseman is aware of his need to adjust in order to continue playing at a high level:
“I’m a realist,” he said. “I’m not a guy who’s trying to be something I’m not. I know what I need to do to be the best I can be. A lot of people, they hit a wall and they don’t know how to get over it because they say, ‘This is what I’ve done my whole life.’ That’s why a lot people get to a certain age and can’t play anymore. They only know one way. I can adjust.”
Gonzalez makes two weekly visits to Roach’s shrine, following just about the same regime of a professional boxer:
Part of his most recent adjustment is to make two visits every week to the Wild Card. He does everything a professional boxer would do to prepare for an upcoming prizefight except spar.
Gonzalez has appeared on the final NL MVP ballot three consecutive years. He returned to the All-Star Game last season for the first time since 2011 and fifth selection overall. Gonzalez is under contract with the Dodgers through the 2018 season.