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Adrian plans to play opener despite sore back

Dodgers first baseman exits final Opening Series tuneup in fourth inning

SYDNEY -- Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has lower back tightness he thinks was triggered by sightseeing, but it shouldn't keep him from starting Opening Night against the D-backs.

"I need to rest, get off my feet," said Gonzalez, who was removed from Thursday night's 4-2 exhibition win against Team Australia in the fourth inning. "I've done a lot of walking around the city. I'll be good [for Saturday night]. I'm positive I'll feel better tomorrow."

Gonzalez said he felt discomfort in pregame stretching, but started the game hoping it would improve.

"It actually got tighter," he said. "I swung at a pitch in the second at-bat, and it didn't feel good. I finished the at-bat because I didn't want to take myself out of the game in the middle of the at-bat."

Gonzalez reached for his back on that pitch before lining out sharply to right field. When the Dodgers took the field for the bottom of the inning, left fielder Scott Van Slyke had replaced Gonzalez at first base and Mike Baxter had taken over left field.

Gonzalez said he had planned to play seven innings. Manager Don Mattingly said he "feels good" about Gonzalez's chances of being available for the Opening Series this weekend.

Gonzalez was the iron man for the Dodgers last year, playing in a team-high 157 games and through a painful strained neck muscle.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for
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