UPDATE (Sept. 26, 3:20 p.m. PT): The Los Angeles Dodgers scratched Adrian Gonzalez from the lineup on Saturday. Additionally, Gonzalez is not expected to play against the Colorado Rockies in the three-game series, according to David Vassegh of AM 570:
Don Mattingly doesn't plan on playing Gonzalez tomorrow either
— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) September 26, 2015
Thanks in large part to the Los Angeles Dodgers front office’s focus on improving depth throughout the active roster and organization, the club has managed to absorb a rash of injuries throughout the season well enough to still be in the driver’s seat for a third consecutive National League West division title.
The Dodgers’ laundry list of injured players is well-documented at this point, though it may lose one as Kiké Hernandez nears a return from a hamstring strain. However, one issue that’s flown under the radar a bit is a nagging back injury Adrian Gonzalez is dealing with.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, Gonzalez said a disk is pinching a nerve and affecting other areas of his body:
My whole left side — my hamstring, my calf, my quad — everything feels weak and kind of dead, in a sense,” he said. “When I’m hitting, I feel like I have no backside. When I’m running, I feel like I can’t really push off my left leg.”
After blistering start to the season, Gonzalez has regressed to the mean, if not tailed off, in the months that followed. That’s particularly held true since August, as the All-Star first baseman is batting .233/.317/.383 over 48 games (46 starts) since Aug. 1.
With only nine games remaining on their schedule, including Saturday’s contest against the Colorado Rockies, Gonzalez’s desire is to remain in the lineup in effort to hit his stride in time for the postseason:
I’m trying to get to a point where I feel great going into the playoffs,” he said. “So I’m tweaking things every at-bat, every day, to look for that feel that I can carry into the playoffs.”
Despite losing Friday night to the Rockies, the Dodgers benefitted from the San Francisco Giants dropping a game to the Oakland Athletics, and their magic number to clinch the division is now down to two.
While clinching the NL West is the first priority for Los Angeles, maintaining a lead in the standings over the New York Mets for home-field advantage in the NL Division Series isn’t too far behind. On the season Gonzalez is hitting .275/.352/.488 with 28 home runs, 33 doubles and 88 RBIs in 149 games.