The 2017 season was a rough one for Los Angeles Dodgers veteran first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, as he never quite managed to get healthy. The 35-year-old reported to Spring Training with a minor elbow injury that limited him throughout camp, and he then dealt with recurring lower back trouble due to bulging discs.
It forced Gonzalez to the disabled list for the first time in his career, and a second, more prolonged stint. He was recently shifted to an exclusive role as a pinch-hitter in order to prepare for likely playing in that capacity during the playoffs.
But after Gonzalez received a rare start, in which he hit a double and opposite-field home run, the Dodgers shut him down for the remainder of the year. Unforeseen circumstances could lead to a change in course, but matters would need to reach a dire state for that to occur.
Gonzalez called the decision for him to be shut down a difficult one but acknowledged it was for the best in terms of his future. He’s under contract for one more season with the Dodgers.
In a recent interview with with David Vassegh of AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio, Gonzalez explained how this offseason’s workout program will differ from year’s past:
“I’ve done so much research that I’ve got a pretty good handle on what I’ve got, how to combat it and come back to be ready for Spring Training. I’m going to focus more on physical therapy-type workouts. Doing all the exercises back specialists say you should do, sticking to those and not doing anything outside of that box. If you do things outside of the norm, you can put yourself at risk for injury. It’s going to be a very straight forward, back-oriented offseason. There won’t be any movements that are not under control. When you box you have a lot of movements that are not in control. The core exercises in boxing are not in line with the core exercises that need to be done for a back issue. From now until my career ends, I’ll put off boxing and focus more on the physical therapy.”
In the past, Gonzalez used boxing as a means to improve his conditioning and core strength. He was limited to just 71 games, and hit .242/.287/.355 with three home runs and 30 RBIs, which are all career-lows across the board.
With the emergence of Cody Bellinger at first base, Gonzalez’s days as the team’s starter look to be over, although Bellinger could be shifted to the outfield. That would not appear to be a likely scenario, however, whereas the Dodgers buying out Gonzalez wouldn’t be much of a surprise.