The plan for Adrian Gonzalez has been a question of concern for the majority of 2017. His battle to get healthy is still not over and it is now hindering him from being a viable option to start at first base.
On Sunday, Dave Roberts told reporters that they would focus on getting Gonzalez opportunities as a pinch-hitter since that will likely be his role in October.
Since that's role he would have if he makes #Dodgers postseason roster
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) September 17, 2017
Adrian Gonzalez is having a tough 2017 on paper, putting up a slash line of .241/.284/.339 and hitting just two home runs. However, as a pinch-hitter this year Gonzalez is 4-8 with two RBIs and two walks. Giving him more opportunities to come off the bench in big spots will hopefully provide the Dodgers a valuable tool to use in the playoffs.
This news also brings up the question of who will play left field in October. Gonzalez being exclusively used in a pinch-hit role ties down Cody Bellinger at first base. This makes the next two weeks absolutely crucial in deciding who will complete the outfield alongside Chris Taylor and Yasiel Puig.
Dave Roberts recently told reporters that Kiké Hernandez would get every start in left field against a left-handed pitcher. Assuming Hernandez performs well and keeps that role for the postseason, that leaves Andre Ethier, Curtis Granderson, Joc Pederson, and Alex Verdugo the top candidates to start in left field versus righties. Ethier might be in the lead for this role if he can stay healthy since he is 6-17 with a home run this year versus righties, enough to give him a .353 batting average.
Hopefully Gonzalez can use the limited playing time to focus on his health and swing so that he is a threat off the bench in the postseason.Dodgers To Activate Brandon McCarthy; Potential Bullpen Role