Dave Roberts left his office Sunday morning to see an unexpected sight. Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was in the midst of a particularly vigorous round of batting practice at Dodger Stadium. It was the first time he had taken the field since being placed on the disabled list on June 13 because of the herniated disk in his back.
“I was actually surprised at the effort he exerted,” Roberts said before his team’s series finale against the Braves. “He hit some balls out of the ballpark, and he said he feels good. I think for him to get on the field and take batting practice is a good thing.”
Gonzalez could start a rehabilitation assignment later this week. Roberts suggested that how Gonzalez felt on Monday, after a day’s worth of exertion, was more important.
“He wants to show us that he’s closer than we think,” Roberts said. “That’s good. That’s what you want from a player.”
The Dodgers do not intend to rush Gonzalez back onto the field. Cody Bellinger has replaced him at first base, and exceeded expectations. Gonzalez has homered only once in 165 at-bats, and has a career-worst .339 slugging percentage.
But if Gonzalez is healthy, the team would welcome him back. The Dodgers could shift Bellinger to left field and use Chris Taylor, the usual left fielder, at second base. The team has not revealed its plan for re-integrating Gonzalez into the lineup, but that would be one solution.
Turner returns to the field
Justin Turner grinned when asked about his health on Sunday morning.
“I have bronchitis,” he said.
That was why he did not play on Saturday, and why Roberts sent him home from the clubhouse. Turner returned for the series finale and took his usual place in the lineup, batting third and playing third base.
The bug has been wending its way through the roster in the past few days. Rich Hill dealt with a sore throat during his start on Saturday. Turner has been loading up on medication so he won’t miss much time.
“He didn’t feel good about taking a sick day,” Roberts said. “So I’m going to give him some more grief about taking a sick day. Because I never took one as a player. I’m going to let him know that.”
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