It's tempting to write a player off when he's well into his 30s and coming off a career-worst season at the plate, but not every player follows a predictable parabola of performance as he ages. The truth is that Adrian Gonzalez hasn't been a significant power source in five years -- his last SLG above .500 was in 2011, while his last 30-HR season was in 2010 -- but his continual placement in the middle of the Dodgers' batting order has led to some lofty RBI totals (396 RBI over the last four years). The Dodgers have Gonzalez for another two years and $43 million, so he might keep racking up RBI totals in the middle of the lineup, but his production in the other categories continues to be marginalized by the breadth and depth of the first base position, particularly in the modern era of over-the-fence baseball. The biggest threat to Gonzalez's counting stats is Cody Bellinger, a powerful first base prospect in the Dodgers' system who is charging fast.
Gonzalez (elbow) is back in the Dodgers' Cactus League lineup Friday, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The veteran first baseman has been in and out of the lineup for much of the spring as the club tends to his elbow issue, which flared up earlier this week on a check swing. Gonzalez still appears set for Opening Day, though it would be more comforting for those taking a fantasy draft chance on him to see him get more sustained action to close out spring training.
Gonzalez took a check swing Sunday and his elbow flared up, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. Gonzalez was bothered by his elbow earlier in spring, but he was able to participate in the World Baseball Classic without any limitations. Apparently the same elbow flared up, but manager Dave Roberts was assured that it wasn't anything serious. Consider him day-to-day for now, but the 34-year-old is expected to go through workouts today and return to the lineup Tuesday.
Gonzalez has returned to Dodger camp and expects to play in the team's Cactus League game Thursday, David Vassegh of AM 570 Sports reports. The veteran slugger returns from a rough World Baseball Classic, in which he had just one hit in 12 at-bats for Team Mexico. Gonzalez, before his departure, participated in two Cactus League contests while battling right elbow inflammation, but seems to be at full health upon his return. The 34-year-old is expected to receive more off days this coming season after playing at least 156 games in each of the past 11 years.
Gonzalez went 0-for-5 at the plate in his debut for Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic on Thursday. Gonzalez was shut down early in camp due to a sore elbow, getting just five at-bats before joining his fellow countrymen in the WBC, so it may take him a little time to get fully up to speed. Either way, the 34-year-old's spring training stats (Cactus League or WBC) are of little importance as long as he remains healthy. Gonzalez is no longer the power threat he once was, finishing below 20 homers for the first time since his "down" year of 2012, but he should be a solid source of batting average and counting stats while batting in the heart of the potent Dodgers lineup.
Gonzalez (elbow) made his spring debut in the field, going 1-for-3 in a loss to the Giants on Tuesday. Gonzalez was brought along slowly this spring after experiencing elbow soreness after arriving to camp. The elbow injury wasn't considered serious, and the Dodgers were simply taking it easy on their 34-year-old slugger in a lengthier spring training schedule. Now that he has passed his test both in the batter's box and in the field, Gonzalez is ready to join Team Mexico for the World Baseball Classic.