Gon­za­lez won’t play ev­ery day

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Bill Shaikin bill.shaikin@la­times.com Twit­ter: @Bil­lShaikin

Adrian Gon­za­lez was 23 when the San Diego Padres made him their every­day first base­man. That was in 2006, and he never missed more than six games in a sea­son from that sea­son un­til this one.

He is 35 now. This sea­son in­cluded his first ca­reer trip to the dis­abled list, and then his sec­ond. He is about to re­turn, but the Dodgers will not use him as an every­day player.

“Where he’s at in his ca­reer, he un­der­stands that,” Dodgers man­ager Dave Roberts said Sat­ur­day.

Gon­za­lez has spent the past nine weeks on the dis­abled list, pri­mar­ily to strengthen the mus­cles sur­round­ing the her­ni­ated disk in his back.

Roberts said Gon­za­lez is ex­pected to com­plete a mi­nor league re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion as­sign­ment Wed­nes­day, fly with the Dodgers to De­troit on Thurs­day, and be ac­ti­vated at some point on the seven-game trip.

Roberts said Gon­za­lez would be “play­ing his share against right-handed pitch­ing.”

In that sce­nario, Gon­za­lez could play first base, mov­ing Cody Bellinger to left field and Chris Tay­lor to sec­ond base.

Roberts said Tay­lor could play cen­ter field to give Joc Ped­er­son a day off. Roberts also said Tay­lor (pre­vi­ously a util­ity player) and Bellinger (a rookie) could ben­e­fit from time off dur­ing th­ese dog days of the sea­son.

Gon­za­lez, a five-time All-Star, is bat­ting .255 with one home run. He is bat­ting .237 off left-han­ders, with one ex­tra-base hit — a dou­ble — in 38 at-bats. Roberts said he has dis­cussed the re­duced role with Gon­za­lez.

Hill checks out f ine

Rich Hill said he was sore but oth­er­wise fine Sat­ur­day, one day af­ter be­ing hit in the neck with a pitch while bat­ting. He re­mained in Fri­day’s game af­ter ath­letic train­ers con­firmed that he still could breathe and speak com­fort­ably, and pre­cau­tion­ary postgame test­ing at a hos­pi­tal did not re­veal any in­jury.

“It’s ob­vi­ously scary when a ball comes up in that area,” Hill said. “I’m just thank­ful that ev­ery­thing was fine.”

Hill com­pleted his usual work­out Sat­ur­day and said he ex­pected to take his next turn in the Dodgers’ ro­ta­tion. He said he had no trep­i­da­tion about watch­ing the re­play a cou­ple times.

Hatcher back

Roberts said the Dodgers would ac­ti­vate re­liever Chris Hatcher on Sun­day. The Dodgers have six righthanded re­liev­ers — Ken­ley Jansen, Pe­dro Baez, Bran­don Mor­row, Josh Fields, Ross Stripling and Brock Stew­art — who have pitched at least 20 in­nings and per­formed sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter than the league av­er­age. The Dodgers ran out of room for Stew­art and sent him back to the mi­nor leagues Fri­day.

So why ac­ti­vate Hatcher, who has a 4.66 earned-run av­er­age this sea­son and has not pitched bet­ter than league av­er­age since 2015?

“Chris has been there from the be­gin­ning,” Roberts said. “He’s a part of what we’re do­ing. As he is healthy, we be­lieve that you’ve got to give him an op­por­tu­nity. For us, it’s day to day. We’ve got to as­sess each day and see where it takes us.”

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