It is no secret that Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has not been himself this season, as he has been hampered by elbow, neck and back injuries since Spring Training.
The 35-year-old had never been on the disabled list in his 14-year career before this year and though the season is not yet halfway over, he has already required two DL stints. Both were due to the herniated disc injury that has noticeably bothered Gonzalez throughout the season.
While the club intended to allow for Gonzalez to take ample time to recover, his return was accelerated because of a season-ending knee injury to Andrew Toles. The Dodgers this time, however, aren’t planning on Gonzalez returning until right before or after the All-Star break.
Meanwhile, the veteran first baseman is focused on getting healthy not only for this season but for future years. Otherwise, Gonzalez believes retirement could be around the corner, he explained to Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“I want to get back this year to help the team and for me to be healthy,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m thinking more long-term about being able to play more years.
“Because if I have to deal with this next year again? That’ll probably be it. My contract will be over, that’ll probably be it. I won’t play any more. If I can heal it and my body feels good? Now I can go out there and do the things I can do. Then I’ll keep playing. I want to be out there. I want to be out there playing. But I don’t want to be out there playing when I’m hurt.”
In 49 games this season Gonzalez is having the worst offensive output of his career, batting .255/.304/.339 with one home run and 23 RBIs.
Gonzalez has proven to be a clutch hitter in the postseason though, so the Dodgers still view him as an essential part of the team. Gonzalez received multiple opinions on his back injury before taking an epidural.
He had the same injection in May 2016 to treat back pain, and it allowed Gonzalez to produce at the level he’s accustomed to. Gonzalez was slightly more hesitant this year to receive an epidural for a herniated disc that’s worsened since last season.
Regardless of the injury, next season was widely perceived to be Gonzalez’s last with the Dodgers.