Opening Day was a success for the Los Angeles Dodgers, as they routed the San Diego Padres 14-3. Clayton Kershaw was impressive in his first start of the 2017 MLB season, managing eight strikeouts and allowing only two hits and no walks.
While Kershaw reminded the league of his pitching prowess, Adrian Gonzalez had to prove to himself and the team that he was healthy enough to play. The 34-year-old has been dealing with neck problems and elbow tendinitis and according to Dylan Hernandez of Los Angeles Times, Gonzalez admitted he is still looking for remedies:
“It’s still a work in progress,” Gonzalez said. “The pregame exercises weren’t good for it and made me feel weak during spring training games. We had to back off from pregame exercises and do more of a soft-tissue type of deal, to get it warmed up, get it loose.”
The 34-year-old also added that he has made an adjustment to his swing:
“I changed a little bit of my mechanics to be more top-hand heavy,” Gonzalez said. “It could be a blessing in disguise. It will make me stay back on the ball, make me do things I haven’t been doing. If it feels good, I might stick with it because by me staying back, I can track the ball a little better.”
Despite the ailments, Gonzalez turned in a productive day at bat on Opening Day, scoring and being walked twice. The rest of the Dodgers had a field-day at bat and the team resembled the powerhouse many in the offseason predicted them to be.
While the early results give the team reason to be hopeful, Gonzalez will need to be monitored as the season wears on. Keeping the slugger healthy should be a priority for manager Dave Roberts and the staff if the team is serious about their World Series dream.