By Jon Weisman
Adrian Gonzalez missed today’s on-field workout after irritating a bulging disc in his neck during Saturday baserunning drills.
Gonazlez, who turns 34 in May, told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that an offseason exam confirmed the bulging disc, but pain management was chosen over surgery as the best course of action. According to Bill Plunkett of the Register, Gonzalez said the bulging disc has been there for five years.
On Saturday, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com wrote that the Dodgers planned to give more rest this year to Gonzalez, who played 156 games in 2015 and since 2007 is tied with Robinson Cano for the MLB lead in games with 1,433 — an average of 159 per year. Gonzalez hasn’t played fewer than 156 games in a season since his rookie year in 2005.
… In 89 games before the All-Star break, Gonzalez hit .283 with a .355 on-base percentage and a .520 slugging percentage. In 67 games after the break, that slash line dipped to .264/.344/.427.
“Every year is different,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve had great Aprils and horrible Aprils, great Septembers and bad Septembers. There’s no reason to break it down. You have to look at each season as a whole.” …
Right-handed hitting Scott Van Slyke and left-handed hitting Chase Utley are the Dodgers’ primary backups at first base, with Howie Kendrick (78 career games at first), Yasmani Grandal (44) and Andre Ethier (two) also among possibilities with a hair of past experience. There’s also Justin Turner (38), who has already been ruled out of middle-infield duty, but a scenario where the Dodgers use him at first base and someone else at third doesn’t immediately offer a whole lot of logic.
First base is the only position besides pitcher and catcher that Kiké Hernandez hasn’t played in the big leagues. He has two career minor-league innings at the cold corner, most recently in 2014.
That Gonzalez sat out a February day of Spring Training for precautionary reasons is hardly major news, but it does underscore the desire to make sure they can keep him in top physical condition. As we noted earlier this month, Gonzalez has become one of the top first basemen in Dodger history.