FORT MYERS, Fla. All spring Adrian Gonzalez has maintained he has no timetable for his first Grapefruit League game. That changed Tuesday morning when, after taking batting practice on the field for the second time, Gonzalez said he hopes to get into his first game in a Red Sox uniform next week.
Wednesday I'll hit again on the field if everything feels good, he said. And see how it responds hitting back-to-back days. Right now, the plan is to take it easy on Thursday. I don't think I'm going to be off, but I'm going to back off and give it a rest so I can start planning out for some kind of game action next week sometime -- maybe even earlier, I don't know. Maybe next week some time."
Gonzalez said he has no plans to hit off a pitcher on the back field or at the minor-league complex, preferring to progress directly from BP to a game. He had surgery in October to clean up the labrum in his right (non-throwing) shoulder, originally injured when diving for a foul ball in May in Houston.
He said batting is not a concern, but diving for balls is.
"The biggest plan is for me to be able to dive after a ball on defense," he said. "That's the biggest thing, because I could hit last year, no problem. But I was limited in diving. That's the biggest reason I had it. It wasn't for my hitting. After I dove three or four times and everything flared up, it wasn't feeling good. You teach yourself to stop diving."
Manager Terry Francona is cautiously optimistic of seeing his new first baseman in a game soon.
I would say thats probably about right, yeah, he said. We always make the lineup up about three or four days ahead of time. Well look at it. Again, I dont want to start pushing. The last thing we want to do is play him too quick. When the medical people say he can play, then if he wants to play or he says hes ready, then well sit down and figure it out.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen