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Dodgers trying to play it safe with Adrian Gonzalez neck injury [Updated]

Adrian GonzalezDon MattinglyHanley RamirezMark Ellis

It’s not so much that they’re making it up as they go with Adrian Gonzalez, as they are constantly ready to adjust on the fly.

When you have nine players on the disabled list as the Dodgers do, including starters Hanley Ramirez and Mark Ellis, caution tends to rule the day. Not walking-on-egg-shells caution, but more watching-where-you-place-every-step caution.

Gonzalez has a strained neck, and has since running into an umpire chasing a foul ball on May 1. He did not start the next three games, though he did pinch hit. He came back Monday against Arizona, but left Wednesday’s game before the fifth inning after aggravating the injury.

And then there he was Saturday, Gonzalez leaving the game after the seventh inning with the Dodgers up by six and going the cautious route.

“We don’t know what gets him,” said Manager Don Mattingly. “There was that play when he went to his right on that roller and gets the lead guy, that stung him a little bit. Then a swing stung him, so we knew he was hurt and it was a good time to get him out of there.

“The beat kind of goes on with Adrian. He’s still swinging the bat good. It’s just hopefully we can keep kind of creeping on this thing and get it out of the way.”

[Updated at 11:10 a.m.: Today's answer to his neck problem was to again take him out of the lineup. Mattingly said the neck was bothering him Sunday morning, so they were trying to play it safe.

"We're just tryiing to get ahead of this thing," Mattingly said.]

Gonzalez had two hits Saturday and has at least one hit in nine consecutive games. Hitting doesn’t seem the problem. Just everything else.

“That’s the one thing where it doesn’t really bother me,” Gonzalez said. “Just throwing, running for fly balls, running with my head up really hurts, especially going back.

“Even running forward with my head up, it hurts. Those fly balls, it’s hard for me to go hard or go comfortably after them because the whole time, I’m in pain.”

Gonzalez, however, said he expects to be back in the lineup Sunday. And despite flare-ups, believes the neck is improving.

“It’s getting better every day, but once I get out there and start running, throwing and moving it, the pain starts and it gets worse and worse and worse,” he said. “You just have to deal with the pain as the game progresses.”

And adjust as the neck, and game, permits.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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