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Gonzalez exits Australia exhibition with sightseeing-related sore back

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

Adrian Gonzalez expects to be ready for the season-opener this weekend.
Adrian Gonzalez expects to be ready for the season-opener this weekend. (USATSI)

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Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez had to leave Thursday's exhibition game against Team Australia with tightness in his lower back. He believes the injury stems from sightseeing and does not expect it to impact his availability for this weekend's series against the Diamondbacks.

Here's more, from Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:

"I need to rest, get off my feet," said Gonzalez, who was removed from Thursday night's 4-2 exhibition win against Team Australia in the fourth inning. "I've done a lot of walking around the city. I'll be good [for Saturday night]. I'm positive I'll feel better tomorrow."

Gonzalez said he felt discomfort in pregame stretching, but started the game hoping it would improve.

"It actually got tighter," he said. "I swung at a pitch in the second at-bat, and it didn't feel good. I finished the at-bat because I didn't want to take myself out of the game in the middle of the at-bat."

Gonzalez, as you may recall, has not been shy about taking photos with anyone in Australia, and do I mean anyone. Here's video of the at-bat, where you can see Gonzalez reaching for his back and flexing a bit:

Left fielder Scott Van Slyke moved to first base and Mike Baxter took over in left for the remainder of the game. The Dodgers beat Team Australia 4-2.

Gonzalez, 31, has been an iron man throughout his career. He played in 157 games last season despite dealing with a nagging neck strain, and he's played at least 156 games every season since 2006, his first as a full-time big leaguer.

The Dodgers and Diamondbacks will play a pair of games at the Sydney Cricket Ground this weekend, the first two games of the 2014 regular season.

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