In case you missed it amid a steady stream of other injury-related reports on Wednesday, it was revealed that Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is suffering from a mild herniated disc in his back, and may still be dealing with complications from elbow tendinitis that bothered him for much of 2017 spring training.
Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times published a very thorough story related to the matter after the series loss to the Giants, emphasizing how the iron man has fought through injuries in the past, having never been placed on the disabled list at any point of his 14-year big league career. In fact, outside of his first two major league seasons in 2004 and 2005, the soon-to-be 35-year-old Gonzalez hasn’t played less than 156 games in one single year.
Yet showing obvious dips in offensive production, it may be beneficial to both Gonzo and the Dodgers if he spends the minimum 10 days on the shelf to rest and heal all his damaged parts. With rookie sensation Cody Bellinger part of the club’s roster at least for now, the team conceivably wouldn’t lose an overwhelming amount of production without Gonzo in the daily lineup.
Still, Gonzalez maintains that he can fight through his problems, although he’s not totally opposed to resting his body.
“I would consider it, 100%,” Gonzalez told McCullough. “I’m never against it. It’s not like they’re telling me it’s mandatory. That’s not the case. I’ve played through injuries my whole life. It’s not something new to me. I’ve always just played through whatever I’ve got, and found a way to deal with it.”
Gonzo also explained to McCullough that with a few adjustments, he believes he’s close to a solution. He contends that if he feels completely healthy, he’s still able to contribute to the club in a highly productive fashion.
“As long as I’m right, and I’m able to do the things I want to do, when I get on a roll, it’ll be a really good roll,” Gonzalez said to McCullough.
It’s not like Gonzalez is struggling to the point where it’s detrimental to the squad, similar to perhaps one or two other players on the current 25-man roster. His production, however, isn’t quite on the same level in which he’s contributed in years past. So far this season, he’s hitting a very mediocre .255/.327/.309 over 105 plate appearances in 29 games. He hasn’t yet to hit a home run, and his .636 OPS isn’t anywhere near typical Gonzalez standards.
As far as depth goes at first base, Bellinger is more than qualified to take over the primary reigns, at least temporarily. Considering the recent demotion of Scott Van Slyke, there really isn’t much of a right-handed hitting option, outside of possible cover from the switch-hitting Yasmani Grandal, or until utility man Rob Segedin returns from a toe injury.
But as much as Gonzo would be briefly missed for his leadership qualities and his on-field savvy, coming back healthy and vigorous after a quick 10-day rest may be the best solution for the Dodgers in general over the long haul. And while it certainly would be a shame to see his streak of avoiding the DL ended after 14 years, all the parties involved, especially Gonzalez himself, likely will benefit to a high degree if the veteran returns to the field in fine physical condition.
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