LOS ANGELES – Adrian Gonzalez has been dealing with back pain on and off since 2012 – more frequently on than off over the past two years. He is not willing to put up with it much longer.
The Dodgers’ veteran first baseman said he went to the DL for the first time in his 14-year career last month “in good spirits” because he knew it was a temporary thing. He did return after two weeks (earlier than expected because of an injury to Andrew Toles) but is back on the DL now indefinitely and with a different perspective on his health – and his career.
“I want to get back this year to help the team and for me to be healthy,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m thinking more long-term about being able to play more years.
“Because if I have to deal with this next year again? That’ll probably be it. My contract will be over, that’ll probably be it. I won’t play any more. If I can heal it and my body feels good? Now I can go out there and do the things I can do. Then I’ll keep playing.
“I want to be out there. I want to be out there playing. But I don’t want to be out there playing when I’m hurt.”
The 35-year-old Gonzalez said doctors have told him the two damaged discs in his lower back can heal. But it will take time away from the baseball field – an undetermined amount of time.
“The MRIs and everything showed that it had gone downhill to the point where the doctors felt we really need to get into the ‘Get better’ mentality rather than just get you back on the field,” he said. “The rest is more of a recovery-type rest, a healing-type rest. … Long term for my career, I need it to heal. I don’t need to band aid it and play.”
The first step was an epidural injection. Gonzalez got that last week and it has alleviated some of the pain. He is also taking anti-inflammatory pills and going through physical therapy focused on core stability exercises.
“I’ve always been old school – get in there with the weights, get the job…