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Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez may not return before August

Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is seen during the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds on June 11.
(Ryan Kang / Associated Press)

With first baseman Adrian Gonzalez still dealing with back issues, the Dodgers have adjusted the timetable for his return. Gonzalez will not return before the All-Star break, as manager Dave Roberts had initially hoped. August now appears to be the goal.

“In talking to Adrian, he still gets stiff,” Roberts said before Saturday’s game against the San Diego Padres. “He’s not where he wants to be.”

Gonzalez has yet to swing a bat since landing on the disabled list June 13. He has been dealing with a herniated disk, which sapped his power and reduced the speed of his swing. Gonzalez is slugging a career-worst .339.

With the emergence of Cody Bellinger, who now occupies first base, the Dodgers have been able to surge forward without Gonzalez. But the team would still welcome his return, if he could be a productive hitter. Bellinger can play all three outfield positions.

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Roberts downplayed the suggestion that the Dodgers were not worried about getting Gonzalez back until just before the start of the playoffs.

“I expect Adrian to be back well before October,” Roberts said.

Josh Fields is activated, Mike Freeman is optioned

Josh Fields, a crucial contributor to the bullpen in April and May, was recalled before Saturday’s game. The team optioned utility man Mike Freeman to triple-A Oklahoma City to make room on the roster. With Fields back, the Dodgers will use an eight-man bullpen.

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Fields posted a 0.84 earned-run average in the first two months of the season. He became highly flammable in June, giving up home runs in four of his five outings before receiving a demotion. Fields finished the month with an 11.12 ERA. He repeatedly got punished for misplaced fastballs.

Fields struck out three batters in three scoreless outings with Oklahoma City.

“Fastball had the life,” Roberts said.

Freeman was hitless in five plate appearances. The team claimed him off waivers from Seattle in late May.

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andy.mccullough@latimes.com

Twitter: @McCulloughTimes


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