By Sean McAdam
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It may have been only 20-25 swings off a tee, taken in the early morning, in the solitude of the batting cages.
But it was a nice return to baseball activity for Adrian Gonzalez.
Gonzalez swung for the first time since undergoing surgery on his right shoulder last October, putting him on the road back to recovery a little earlier than expected.
Originally, Gonzalez was to go visit Dr. David Altchek this week in Port St. Lucie, Fla. But Altchek was delayed in arriving and the Sox instead decided to have their own medical director, Dr. Tom Gill, speak with Altchek by phone Sunday. As Gill described what he found in his routine physical last Friday, Altchek gave Gonzalez clearance to begin swinging off a tee.
"I felt good,'' said Gonzalez. "They said four months after surgery to start swinging and today is four months plus a day, so I'm on schedule. I didn't hold back. I took good, healthy swings and I felt fine.
"You're waiting to see if you feel something different and I didn't, so that's a good sign . . . The only thing I had any concerns with were the first couple of swings, see how it responded. Once the first two swings felt great, it was just like taking 18 more swings.''
Gonzalez will also swing off a tee Tuesday and Wednesday before taking a day off from swinging Thursday. At that point, he'll be revaluated and perhaps starting taking regular batting practice.
"I've been ready to swing,'' said Gonzalez. "It was just a matter of getting the clearance. First, it was today that I was going to see the doctor, then it was pushed back to a couple of days later and Altchek still hadn't reported to New York Mets' camp. We didn't know exactly what day it was going to be, so we just kind of turned it around and had Dr. Gill give him a call.
"Dr. Gill checked me during the physicals and on his take, I was good, so we just went ahead with it . . . We'll just take it a day at a time.''
Gonzalez reiterated that he feels he'll be ready for the April 1 regular season opener.
"Even if I had started swinging March 1, I was on pace to start April 1,'' said Gonzalez. "Shoulder's healthy, so it's just like normal.''