Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has been dealing with a bulging disk in his neck for the past several seasons, but that still hasn’t stopped him from being one of the game’s most durable players. However, so far this spring, it’s started to bother him. That means sitting out the Spring Training opener on Thursday.
But don’t fret about any of this yet. It’s looking likely that Gonzalez will be suiting up on Friday to play in his first spring game. So, there really isn’t much to take away from any of this. It’s a designed rest day for Gonzalez after having something flare up. It’s a smart play by the team, and by him.
From ESPN and Dodgers beat writer Doug Padilla on Twitter:
Adrian Gonzalez's sore neck no longer a concern, but he still won't play Thursday. Cactus League debut set for Friday.
— Doug Padilla (@DougPadilla) March 1, 2016
As Padilla notes, the neck is no longer a concern for the team or Gonzalez. That’s great news. Despite that, though, he will be sitting out Thursday’s game. But, as has been made mentioned, he will be playing on Friday therefore he seems like he’s relatively healthy to go for the spring.
If the Dodgers are to be successful in 2016, they will need every possible game out of Adrian Gonzalez. He’s the linchpin to their offensive prowess in a lot of ways. He’s the steady, dependable force in the middle of their lineup that will give them 156 games per season and drive in the most runs. He’s the man.
For the team to go places this year, they can’t afford to have him injured or missing too much time. Sure, a game here or there is fine, especially if they’re facing a left-handed pitcher and Scott Van Slyke can take over first base for the day, but anything more than that could crater their entire outlook.
Hopefully the neck isn’t a big deal throughout the year. We shall see, though. The team needs Gonzalez a lot, and that’s the scary part about depending on just one guy for the bulk of your workload. He might be the offense’s Clayton Kershaw in that regard.