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LA gets Adrian back, starts him at first for now

With Dodgers hitting on all cylinders, veteran knows he'll have to produce to stay in lineup
MLB.com

DETROIT -- On his second swing of batting practice before Friday's game, Adrian Gonzalez sent a ball to the deepest part of Comerica Park and over the wall. It was a way for Gonzalez, who was activated from the 60-day disabled list Friday, to show he feels as good as he claims.

In Friday's 8-5 win over the Tigers, Gonzalez's first MLB action since June 11, the veteran went 1-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. Gonzalez added a big play at first base, leaping to stab a line drive off the bat of Ian Kinsler with two on and two out in the eighth inning.

DETROIT -- On his second swing of batting practice before Friday's game, Adrian Gonzalez sent a ball to the deepest part of Comerica Park and over the wall. It was a way for Gonzalez, who was activated from the 60-day disabled list Friday, to show he feels as good as he claims.

In Friday's 8-5 win over the Tigers, Gonzalez's first MLB action since June 11, the veteran went 1-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. Gonzalez added a big play at first base, leaping to stab a line drive off the bat of Ian Kinsler with two on and two out in the eighth inning.

"I like him active in the batter's box and defensively," manager Dave Roberts said. "For him to get a hit to start his trek back, I think that was good for him. There was obviously a lot of smiles tonight."

Video: LAD@DET: Gonzalez returns with a sizzling double

Gonzalez was placed on the 10-day DL on June 13, then shifted to the 60-day on July 29. He returned Friday batting seventh -- not his usual cleanup spot -- and playing first base. Roberts said Gonzalez will play first on Saturday and be the team's designated hitter Sunday.

Cody Bellinger, the All-Star rookie who batted .300 and played plenty of first while Gonzalez was on the DL, started in left field Friday and was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and two walks. It's an easy choice to play both for now, as the use of a designated hitter frees up an extra spot in the lineup. Friday's trade for outfielder Curtis Granderson might make things interesting, though.

Video: LAD@DET: Gonzalez pads the lead with sacrifice fly

Roberts said the role of Gonzalez, who is batting .254 with one home run in 50 games, will depend on his performance at the plate more than anything else.

"This is a situation where [Gonzalez's] track record speaks for itself," Roberts said before Friday's game. "But where we're at right now with our ballclub, production overrides everything. And that's the way it should be when you're trying to win a championship."

Gonzalez echoed the exact attitude the team would want, that of a 14-year veteran with a team-first approach.

"They've created such a great run here that I just want to be a part of it," he said. "I don't have expectations. There is no, 'Hey, I should be playing.' I'll play when I'm in there, and when I'm not, I'll be ready to pinch-hit."

Worth noting

Clayton Kershaw, on the 10-day DL with right lower back tightness, will throw a three-inning simulated game in Pittsburgh on either Tuesday or Wednesday, Roberts said. Kershaw threw a 40-pitch bullpen session Friday. If his upcoming sim game goes well, the All-Star lefty would likely begin a rehab assignment with either Oklahoma City or Double-A Tulsa.

Yu Darvish was not with the Dodgers before Friday's game because he was house hunting in Los Angeles with his family. Roberts said he expected Darvish to land in Detroit some time Friday night. As for Darvish's health, Roberts said the righty was taken out as a precaution in his latest outing and that he's expected to make his next start against the Pirates.

Jordan Horrobin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit who covered the Dodgers on Friday.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Adrian Gonzalez, Rob Segedin