Gonzalez returns to field, makes spring debut

March 7th, 2017

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers got a quick glimpse of in Monday's 10-9 loss to the Rockies, as the All-Star first baseman made his Cactus League debut two days before leaving for the World Baseball Classic.

Gonzalez hit a broken-bat groundout to second baseman DJ LeMahieu, playing in a deep shift, in his first at-bat in the first inning, then hit a hard flyout to left in the fourth.

"My swing's fine," Gonzalez said. "I was just trying to get a few at-bats before I head out, and today was a good start. They weren't that great of at-bats, but they were productive, I guess. The fact that everything feels good is all that really matters right now."

Gonzalez has been held out of games while nursing right elbow tendinitis. He is expected to play first base Tuesday against the Giants, getting two more at-bats, then leave the club to play for Team Mexico in the Classic.

"With Adrian, I just want him to get through the day healthy," manager Dave Roberts said before the game. "He's checked all the boxes up until today. We obviously don't care about results -- just get in the batter's box and face a Major League pitcher, and get through the day healthy.

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"To be able to put eyes on him, then send him off to Team Mexico, I think that we feel good about that."

Gonzalez downplayed his delay in seeing game action, noting that all he can do is, "Just rest it, and it's either healed, or it's not. It's healed."

On a day when three Dodgers left the game with injuries, Roberts was happy to see Gonzalez's debut go smoothly.

"It was just good to see him in the batter's box," Roberts said. "He barreled up a ball in his second at-bat. That was good."

It's been an unusually low-key spring for Gonzalez, but he can expect an intensity boost when he takes the field for his country later this week, when Mexico takes on Italy on Thursday at 6 p.m. PT.

"I'm the type of guy that gets fired up when the game starts, not leading up to it," Gonzalez said. "I'll be fired up."