LOS ANGELES — Veteran first baseman Adrian Gonzalez will not be on the Dodgers’ NL Division Series postseason roster because of back tightness — an injury that has plagued him all season — and is expected to miss the postseason.
“I don’t think it’s something you can go into a postseason with tightness and question marks up in the air, with healthy guys in there,” Gonzalez said Wednesday.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he and Gonzalez came to the decision mutually.
“As I talked to him, and seeing how his back is and how he’s feeling, I was very disappointed,” Roberts said. “But I think right now, as it stands, we’re going to shut him down so we don’t cause more damage, get him ready for next year, and expect him to respond to rest. If something unforeseen does happen to the active guys right now, we might try to revisit Adrian.”
Gonzalez will keep rehabilitating his back but won’t be swinging in the cage. He said rest is the most important thing for his back. Since rosters are made for each series, he could return in the playoffs, but he’s not planning on playing unless injuries to other players make it necessary.
“I don’t think it’s something where you can say, not for this series but yes for that series,” Gonzalez said. “The only thing where I would be available is if there’s a major injury.”
The 35-year-old Gonzalez started at first base on Tuesday and went 2 for 4 with a homer, his third this season. That was his first start in 15 days, and by Wednesday, the back problem had flared up again. He is batting .242 with 30 RBI in 71 games.
“I felt great last night,” Gonzalez said. “The swing felt good. I felt right. That was encouraging.”
Cody Bellinger, an NL Rookie of the Year candidate, figures to start at first base for Los Angeles in the postseason.
Gonzalez will not travel with the team during the playoffs because he said it’s not good for his back.
He plans to return to the Dodgers for 2018.
“My plan is to play every day and be an everyday player again,” Gonzalez said. “Give it a go and have a good season like I expected to this year.”
The Dodgers (101-57) have the best record in baseball and have clinched home-field advantage through the NLCS. They are still vying for home-field advantage throughout the postseason. They’ll have to do it without Gonzalez.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/MLBbaseball