Earlier today, Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez missed the team’s workout because of a bulging disk in his neck. It’s caused him some discomfort since 2010, according to the slugger, but it shouldn’t be any cause for concern throughout the year. For the most part.
Since arriving in Los Angeles via trade from the Boston Red Sox in August 2012, all the talented first baseman has done is hit .283 with 80 home runs and 328 runs batted in over 508 games. He’s been their most consistent bat in the lineup, and he’s showed it on more than one occasion.
“There’s not much we can do about it. It’s a bulging disk and it’s too risky to operate. Just pain management. I wasn’t smart with the base-running drill. I have to stay away from things that irritate it.”
It was a base-running drill that caused the injury to flare back up again, and it’s clearly an issue that he knows will need to be addressed throughout the season. Base-running appears to be one of the things that can definitely, as he says, irritate it. That doesn’t mean it isn’t manageable.
Gonzalez is somewhat of an ironman in this sport right now, playing in at least 156 games each of the last 10 seasons. He always shows up to the park and produces. It’s part of what makes him so great. To be successful in baseball, you first have to be out there as much as possible. And he is.
According to Gonzalez, the neck issue is related to a shoulder issue that he had surgery on back after the 2011 season. It’s part of the reason that the team is preparing Scott Van Slyke to be the backup first baseman since the Dodgers would love to get Gonzalez more time to rest this year.
Keeping the important slugger healthy for as long as possible is going to be one of the things to watch throughout the season. He’ll be turning 34 years old early in May, and the team will need to manage his games, at-bats, and innings in the field if they’re to be successful. We’ll see how it plays out.