FORT MYERS, Fla. With general manager Theo Epstein, manager Terry Francona, third baseinfield coach Tim Bogar, and his agent John Boggs among the onlookers, Adrian Gonzalez got six at-bats in a game at the Red Sox player development complex Wednesday afternoon.
Batting third in each of the first six innings another sign of spring training in the Pawtucket Red Sox game against the Rays Triple-A Durham Bulls, Gonzalez went 3-for-6, all singles, with a run scored and an RBI, as he makes his way back from off-season surgery on his right shoulder to prepare for full-time play in the regular season. He saw a combined 24 pitches in his plate appearances. Gonzalez did not play in the field.
It went well, Gonzalez said after his outing, a large ice pack wrapped around his right shoulder. The shoulders been feeling really good. I know for head trainer Mike Reinold, the important issue was playing back-to-back games. For me it was more getting my timing down. The first couple of days I was just hitting, just looking for a fastball. And then the last couple of days Ive been trying to actually have at-bats. It hasnt gone too well. So, it was good to be able to go up there and try to have at-bats. And then kind of mix it up and be aggressive. It felt good.
Gonzalez faced Rays' minor league right-handers Richard De Los Santos and Jeremy Hall.
Held out of games until March 12 as the Sox monitored his shoulders progress, Gonzalez has gotten just 16 plate appearances in six Grapefruit League games. By comparison, minor-league infielder Nate Spears leads the team with 56 plate appearances in 21 Grapefruit League games. Gonzalez is hitting just .143, going 2-for-14 with two walks.
Ive been seeing the ball great as far as seeing it out of the hands, seeing ball-strike, Gonzalez said. But when it comes to actually seeing a pitch I want to swing at and swinging, it just wasnt clicking. I really dont care about results because results, it doesnt really matter in spring training. It's just being able to see a strike and take a good swing at a strike with the right timing. It hasnt been there quite. So today I felt a lot better out there.
Gonzalez expects to play in the Sox remaining Grapefruit League games, except Thursday in Jupiter against the Marlins and Sunday in Sarasota against the Orioles.
He has also resumed using his regular bat instead of the lighter one which he used for most of his spring training at-bats.
Im using the right one now, he said. Today I used the normal bat. Ive been trying it out an at-bat here and there. But today I actually took it out every at-bat because they were all righties. It felt fine.
Gonzalez had surgery in October, after originally injuring his shoulder in Houston in May diving for a foul ball.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen