Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez is hoping to represent Mexico in World Baseball Classic

Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, middle, instructs players, including Adam Liberatore (36) as manager Dave Roberts (30) watches at the team's baseball spring training facility Tuesday.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

At some point during the first week of March, Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez will have his right elbow examined.

“Up until then,” Gonzalez said, “there’s no updates.”

Gonzalez was diagnosed with inflammation before his arrival at Camelback Ranch last week. His availability for opening day is not considered in doubt. But he may have to sit out the World Baseball Classic. Gonzalez hopes to play in one or two games for the Dodgers before joining Team Mexico on March 9 in Jalisco.

Gonzalez wants to play for his country, which is managed by his brother, Edgar. Gonzalez has been told the injury should heal within two weeks, but he should take an extra week as a precaution. If the team doctor does not clear him to play in early March, Gonzalez expects to be prescribed a couple more weeks of rest.


Gonzalez did not take part in infield drills Tuesday. He is not barred from swinging a bat, and his forearm experienced discomfort when catching throws.

“He’s pain-free right now, so that’s a good thing,” Manager Dave Roberts said. “I just don’t know when he’ll be back with us.”

For the last 11 seasons, Gonzalez has played in at least 156 games each year. The Dodgers would like to reduce that number, at least slightly, in 2017 to help Gonzalez. He will turn 35 in May, and his back and neck bothered him at times in 2016. During the last two seasons, his production has dipped in September.

Gonzalez smiled when informed that Roberts intended to give him more days off. He heard rhetoric like this from former manager Don Mattingly. He heard the same spiel from Roberts last season.

“He can say all he wants,” Gonzalez said. “Once the season’s going on . . .”

He added: “I want to play. I’m here to play baseball. I’m not here to watch baseball.”

Backup shortstop needed?

The battle for spots on the Dodgers bench is already heated. The team has more than half a dozen outfielders who could conceivably deserve a spot with the team. But General Manager Farhan Zaidi indicated the team would like to carry an infielder who can back up Corey Seager at shortstop.

The three candidates would be Enrique Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Charlie Culberson. Only Hernandez and Taylor are on the 40-man roster, and Hernandez can also play second base and various spots in the outfield.

Short hops

Zaidi sounded pleased with an outing of live batting practice from Brandon McCarthy, who struggled to throw strikes as he returned from elbow ligament-replacement surgery in 2016. “His execution was terrific today,” Zaidi said. “If he continues to execute the way he did today, I think it’s going to be a great sign.” . . . Scott Kazmir, another candidate for the starting rotation, took part in a lengthy bullpen session under the care of pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. Guest instructors Orel Hershiser and Eric Gagne also joined Kazmir as he tinkered. After battling various injuries in 2016, Kazmir is trying to restore his delivery.


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