Adrian Gonzalez has battled multiple injuries throughout his 14-year career, but it wasn’t until Friday that he landed on the disabled list. His 1,833 career games played without a DL trip were the most among active players.
When Gonzalez reported to Spring Training he was immediately shut down for a couple weeks because of inflammation in his right elbow. The “tennis elbow” subsided and he managed to appear in a couple Cactus League games before joining Team Mexico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Gonzalez aggravated the injury shortly after returning to Dodgers, and recently revealed he was also bothered by a herniated disc. That severely impacted Gonzalez’s ability to be effective and proved too tough to continue playing through.
Gonzalez explained the decision to approach the Dodgers over a stint on the disabled list, and outlined when he’ll feel comfortable returning, via SportsNet LA:
“It’s been a battle since the first swing I took in Spring Training after getting the injection in my elbow. Everything has been compensating or trying to figure out who I can get up there and be successful, and nothing has clicked. … We’re not looking at it as 10 days, we’re looking at is when my body is right and I can go out there and take a swing without any pain, play nine innings and not feel stiff or come out of it in pain. It’s whenever my body recovers.”
Gonzalez is batting .255/.327/.309 with a .284 wOBA and 76 wRC+ in 29 games. The veteran first baseman has 11 RBI and five doubles are his only extra-base hits. Gonzalez’s .635 on-base plus slugging percentage is on pace to be the lowest of his career.
With Gonzalez on the shelf, the Dodgers hand the reins to Cody Bellinger. The organization’s top position-player prospect has made quite the splash, and now will have the opportunity to play his natural position on an everyday basis.
When Gonzalez manages to return is largely unknown — at least publicly. Clayton Kershaw missed 10 weeks last season due to a herniated disc in his lower back, and Andre Ethier has yet to play this season because of a similar injury sustained near the end of Spring Training.