Heading into the 2016 season the Los Angeles Dodgers figured to be carried in large part by the same cast as last season — Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick and Justin Turner.
Gonzalez battled a recurring neck issue during Spring Training, Kendrick suffered a calf strain, and Turner was eased back into play as he was coming off microfracture knee surgery. Each got off to a slower-than-expected start this season.
But the trio has since rounded into form. For Gonzalez, that’s meant a recent uptick in power.
He slugged a solo home run on Sunday, the 300th of Gonzalez’s career. He became the 140th player in Major League Baseball to reach the benchmark.
According to Mark Whicker of the OC Register, Gonzalez’s resurgence is tied to a change in philosophy in regards to his workout routine:
“We were trying to work on stability stuff,” Gonzalez said. “I had to figure out a way to get over the hump. We decided we had to focus on the big muscles, maybe working on heavier weights. That was the training staff, everybody. Typically that’s not something you’re going to advise during the season, but my body reacted to it.
Gonzalez also leaned on his brother, Edgar, for advice on how to improve his swing. The 34-year-old first baseman hit 223/.295/.319 with just one home run and eights RBIs in 27 games during June.
Gonzalez heated up in July, batting .315/.392/.472 with five doubles, three home runs and 16 RBIs. Since 2013, Gonzalez’s first full season with the Dodgers, he’s hit at least 22 home runs each year. The five-time All-Star enters play Tuesday with 10 homers this season.
While Gonzalez has battled through back/nerve issues this season, he remains proactive rather than simply leaning on previous success.