The Dodgers activated Adrian Gonzalez from the disabled list Thursday, hopeful that two weeks to rehabilitate a sore right elbow and lower back will restore the power stroke that made the veteran first baseman one of baseball’s most consistent run-producers for the past decade.
“I think he’s close to 100%,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He told me how much better his body feels. I do expect the ball to come off his bat a lot better.”
Gonzalez, 35, went hitless in two at-bats Tuesday and was three for four with two doubles and two RBIs Wednesday for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.
“I’m good, I’m playing,” Gonzalez said in a brief exchange with reporters before the game. “Good talk.”
Is there a big difference in how he feels now compared to when he went on the DL on May 5?
“Yeah,” Gonzalez said, “that’s why I’m active.”
Gonzalez reported to spring training with right elbow inflammation, which radiated pain and caused stiffness in his forearm. That did not stop him from playing for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic in March and playing all of April for the Dodgers.
Gonzalez said he altered his mechanics to compensate for the soreness in his forearm, which caused a left triceps strain. His condition worsened when he aggravated a previously herniated disk while bending to pick up his daughter on April 20.
The five-time All-Star hit .255 with a .635 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, no homers and 11 RBIs in 29 games before going on the DL, well below his career .290 average and .854 OPS entering the season.
“Sometimes he has a tendency, like a lot of hitters, to get overaggressive and get outside the strike zone,” Roberts said. “If he’s in the zone, I expect good contact. The power will come if you continue to take passes at balls in the zone.”
Scott Van Slyke was optioned to triple A to make room for Gonzalez.
Roberts is one of 16 managers,…