Don’t Worry About Adrian Gonzalez’s Rusty Elbow

Adrian Gonzalez

We just recently learned that first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was diagnosed with “tennis elbow” due to excessive weight lifting and offseason workouts. Tennis elbow is the equivalent of a sore elbow and the Dodgers are being cautious by ordering him to rest for the first couple of weeks of spring training.

I have already noticed a few posters freaking out and or concerned that this may cost Gonzo playing time during the regular season or become a precursor for future health problems for Gonzalez in 2017. I would like to put everyone’s mind at ease by reminding them of a couple of things.

First of all a sore elbow in the first couple weeks of spring from too much working out is nothing to freak out about. Gonzalez is not likely to miss any games that count and I would rather have him rest now then in April or May when the games are not meaningless.

My second point I want to make to put your concerns to rest is that Gonzalez has been one of the most consistent players in the majors. He’s been historically healthy throughout his career and has rarely missed games due to injury.

As a matter of fact Gonzalez has not played in less than 156 games since the 2005 season, which was his second season in the majors during his short tenure with the Texas Rangers. Since then he’s played in 1,745 games from 2006-2016 with the Padres, Red Sox and Dodgers. Here’s a list of the total games Gonzalez has played in each season since 2005.

2006 – 156

2007 – 161

2008 – 162

2009 – 160

2010 – 160

2011 – 159

2012 – 159

2013 – 157

2014 – 159

2015 – 156

2016 – 156

He’s really been somewhat of an iron man without suffering serious injury. Yes I know he is 34-years old and has had problems with his neck over the past few seasons. He’s still yet to miss any significant amount of time because of his rusty neck; he’s hardly missed any time.

All the while he has put up quality numbers at the plate and played gold glove type defense. Gonzalez is a rock and I am not worried about him this year. Actually Gonzalez is one of the Dodgers I worry about the least. Of course now that I have written this post look for him to become seriously injured during the next few weeks. I joke, I joke.

So put your fears about Adrian Gonzalez to bed and don’t worry your pretty little Dodger heads about it. And if Gonzo does get hurt top prospect Cody Bellinger should be available to step up if the Dodgers think he is ready. There are other players that are far more injury prone to be thinking about. Just stop worrying about it.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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53 thoughts on “Don’t Worry About Adrian Gonzalez’s Rusty Elbow

  1. Dodgerrick: “So would I rather have 20 guys who can pitch 5 2/3 innings 10 times per year, or would I rather have – I don’t know, maybe Kershaw and Greinke? Bumgarner and Cueto? Scherzer and Strasburg? Arrieta and Lester?”

    Asked and answered Counselor!! Sit down!! Oh course, EVERYONE wishes the above pitchers were all on the Dodger staff. So to answer “one more time” yes, we would all (including FAZ if the price was right) rather have the above pitchers than 20 guys who can pitch 5 2/3 innings 10 times per year! I bet you also believed Santa would bring you a PONY when you were a kid.

    Amazes me that you guys still can’t see what is going on here. FAZ is running a business here. They want to maximize the company’s assets and win every year. They don’t want to trade young prospects and draft picks like the Lakers did for Steve Nash and others. THE STRENGTH OF THE DODGER ORGANIZATION IS THEIR YOUNG STUD PITCHERS!!!!! FAZ is going to baby and nurture the young studs while they grow into the 200 inning guys you desire. In the meantime, we get “relatively” low cost journeymen starters mixed in with the young studs in the hope of matching the teams that CURRENTLY have a few studs on their staffs. Bottom line results have been pretty good, two wins from the world series. Soon, very soon, with a little luck the Dodgers will have the unquestioned premier starting pitching staff in baseball!!

    Patience Fellas!!

    1. Don’t worry about AGons rusty elbow.

      I’m not

      The strength of the Dodgers etc, all caps, is in their young stud pitchers….. like the babied and nurtured DELEON, COTTON, HOLMES, MONTAS…

      We get journeymen starters mixed in with ….. who are they mixed in with?

      I think most of us are pretty clear with what’s going on here. It’s right there for all to see. We’ve been a damn good club for 4 years. FAZ has been here for 2 of them.

        1. Oh, those guys. Some might be pretty good. Eventually. How many are going to have over 100 innings THIS year?

          Every team in MLB has a list of pitching prospects that long. Some are better than others of course, but no way of really knowing until they prove themselves. In the meantime, we get the McCarthy’s and the Kazmir’s. Who knows, maybe this is the year all those geezer signings earn their dough.

          1. Yeah those guys. How many going to have over 100 innings THIS year? Well depends on what Kershaw, Hill, Maeda, Kazmir, McCarthy and Ryu do. Like Artieboy says below “slight” injuries can have a BIG effect on production. Are they going to be healthy? I can see 600 innings above (maybe more). But, Urias, Wood, Stripling and Stewart probably could all provide 100 innings if necessary.

            Additionally, I am looking forward to a FEW possible cameo appearances from Bueller, Alzarez and others this year. I hope so!!

          2. I don’t get it Badger. In some posts you lament the loss of prospects like Holmes, Cotton, JDL and Montas. Then in other posts like the above you pooh-pooh prospects because you never know “until they prove themselves.”

            That former argument is why you trade for Hill, who has proved himself (as a 3-4 WAR pitcher) and you definitely do it if you only have to give up “those guys” prospects who might be pretty good eventually.

          3. I only mean to “pooh pooh” older guys we trade for or sign for multiple years. As I’ve said buku times I don’t mind trading prospects for guys we know are still in their prime. Of course you don’t know how good any prospect will be which is why I don’t want to move them for guys like Hill – 36 year old on the DL with 1 year of 200 innings and that was a decade ago. That’s not my chosen method. I also don’t sign the McCarthy’s, Kazmir’s (or Anderson’s) unless it’s one or two years with team options. I’m funny that way. MLB players are in their prime from 25-30. We need more of those not less.

        2. Boxout

          Didn’t Mark say that these veteran pitchers, were just a bridge until the young pitchers were ready?

          And they wouldn’t be signing these type of pitchers, again.

          1. I think future signings will depend on what presents itself. Let’s see who steps up (prospects) and who is available (at what cost) in free-agency and trade market. Must fit into the budget, Ethier, Crawford and Gonzalez money going bye-bye is huge.

            I think Mark (and me) sees that a bridge has already been built to the several potential 1’s in the list above. Those guys will be pitching more and more innings in the next few years. However, Injuries can change the best laid plans in a hurry!

      1. Who are they mixed in with?

        The young stud pitchers, of course.

        Are we really pining for Montas, DeLeon and Holmes when the team still has:
        Wood, Urias, Stewart, Stripling, Buehler, Oaks, DeJong and Sborz?

        I know the grass is always greener on the other side, but I learned to deal with that when I was eight.

    2. Bumgarner and Cueto…

      Bumgarner has thrown 200+ innings 7 consecutive years, including his minor league and major league totals in rookie season. That’s quite a feat. But does that mean he’s more likely to keep choogling along or does it mean he’s due for a pit-stop on the DL a la Kershaw last season?

      Johnny Cueto is 31 and has some high mileage on the odometer. He was quite durable last year, but had a barking elbow the year before which scared away a few suitors, possibly the Dodgers, and kept his price tag well below 200 mil.

      So is something likely to give here or 220ish IP from both horses again?

      1. Rye

        I was hoping that some day, Bumgarner would get worn out, by pitching across his body, and pitching to much.

        The Giants got a steal, on his contract.

        1. they are almost “ripping him off” at this point, but if it wasn’t for their position with respect to the luxury tax, I’m sure they’d ink up a hefty extension. He single handedly (pretty much) won the ’14 Series for them, and was co-tied to the yoke with Posey for the other two titles. I predict he’ll get paid big next winter.

  2. I believe it was George Will’s “Men at Work” where he mentioned Yastrzemski and the slight wrist injury he had which affected his production. Will’s point was that the game of baseball requires such precision that any small, seemingly insignificant issue, like tennis elbow, can have a negative impact at the plate.

    Yes it’s good (fantastic) that it happened now. Hopefully it goes away quickly and doesn’t come back until next off season.

    1. Artieboy

      I either read or saw on the Dodger show last night, that Agone doesn’t have anymore pain in his elbow, and they are having him rest it for another week, just to be safe, so he is already ok😃

  3. I think catbox means Buehler and Alvarez. A lot has been written about Buehler, so, no need to rehash his potential, but TJ and and “smallish frame” (TBLA) suggest caution in ’17. Alvarez will be 21 soon, projects well, but hasn’t pitched above A ball. We won’t be seeing him anytime soon. The guys who were most ready, De Leon and Cotton, were shipped. I like Stewart and Stripling, but frankly I thought Cotton and De Leon were better. Who knows. I certainly could be wrong about that. We’ll see as they both are going to be pitching in the bigs this year. Grant Holmes is now rated the A’s third best prospect (85 in Top 100) and will probably be up before Alvarez. That MLB Top 100 list slides every week. We have given up some good pitching recently.

    1. BAAAger, Why must you resort to hurtful personal attacks? Wake up on the wrong side of the bed? I bet I know, LAST NIGHT you dreamed Maxine joined you and the wife in bed!! Any self respecting “sheeple” would have chewed off a hoof to get out of that situation, but no, you spent the whole night! Very “progressive” of you, but please, don’t take it out on us posters!

      1. The old battle ax does look like she would have worked you over pretty good!!

        Who’s next Aunt Esther from Sanford and Sons?

      2. Take what out? Not sure I follow you there Sandsausage.

        Once again you misinterpret. But, we’ve come to accept you and your mistakes.

        Rye, I think the giants will have 4 starting pitchers with 200, or near 200 innings pitched again this year. They’ve got horses that take the ball. But, we can hope that cracks appear. None of them are that old, I think Samardzija is the oldest at 32. Cain is also 32, and I sure hope he doesn’t return to form. They’ve got others in the system they are talking about, but not sure if any are every 5th day guys. You can bet they will gunning for us.

        1. Sorry you’re getting trolled above, but you do well to take it in stride. Some folks live to troll I suppose.

          Giants have Ty Blach ready to roll. Albert Suarez can go if needed. Top prospect Tyler Beede may be up for the challenge and fit in at the back end, although I suspect he’ll get every chance to season at AAA, and take some lumps. They have a couple of other bodies in Clayton Blackburn and Chris Stratton – nothing to stir fear.

          Something tells me the Giants health record on the hill gets blemished this year. Either that or they must have the secret formula for pitcher health patented ( Matt Cain’s elbow bodies not withstanding).

    2. It doesn’t matter who will be up before whom.

      You know why? Because the Dodgers have depth and can develop talent with patience.

      You like Cotton and DeLeon better, that’s great. Holmes is ranked 85. Here’s his write up, not exactly portraying him as an elite:

      Holmes has the raw stuff to become a mid-rotation option, but he’ll need time to refine his delivery, develop a more consistent change and improve his command.

      But this is irrelevant. We should want all the players who the Dodgers traded to do well, just as we want the players the Dodgers traded for to do well. If EVERYONE (including Hill and the other Dodgers prospects still in the system) pitches to their potential, then it’s a great trade. A really, really great trade.

      But they won’t, and the Dodgers got the pitcher who has at least done it for the Dodgers in regular season and playoff games.

      1. Hill? He was signed as a free agent. It was in all the papers. What he did last year, when we did trade for him, was not much. He pitched 34 innings. Lost 2 games. Cotton pitched 29 innings for Oakland, didn’t lose any games. He, Holmes and Montas are team controlled with a long future in front of them. We owe a 37 year old Hill $48 million. Party on rich Rich.

        1. Ah, now we just play the subjective game.

          How fun.

          How about objective facts.

          Hill’s at the top of the Dodgers rotation now and was for a playoff team.

          Montas, Holmes, Cotton?

          The highest is 4th behind such stalwarts as Manaea and Graveman on a dreadful team.

          Party on Dodgers.

          1. I hope you’re right bluto. The combo of Cotton/Holmes/Montas or Hill. Any guess on which of those two options pitches more cost effective innings over the next 3 years?

            By the way, I think you’re confusing subjective with objective. Those numbers I posted were not subjective (existing in mind). They actually happened.

          2. I think this and earlier are interesting questions.

            Is it better to aim for players who are healthy and in their prime (when their productivity and cost is highest) or is it better to look for value in terms of health or age.

            I’d suggest a combination of the two, but I can definitely see your point that they should only target the former.

  4. Reloading ≠ replacing.

    Cultivation and utilization can occur simultaneously.

    Also, your question of Calhoun and his value overlooks the concept of development and improvement. Calhoun is only 22, to think he will stay “behind” Holmes is pretty pessimistic.

    That said, there’s PLENTY of debate regarding Calhoun, the worth of his bat and his ultimate position.

    Finally, also on last year’s Sickel’s list are:
    Zach Lee, Micah Johnson and Chris Anderson. But the less said about them, the better.

    1. Bluto

      I think it is ok if they debate whether this trade was good, or bad.

      And we won’t know, until a few years, down the line.

      Personally it does seem like they gave one, to many prospects away.

      I am not totally sure.

      But Billy Beane, sure held the cards, in this deal, because of Kershaw being down, and Puig being, on the outs.

    1. That’s animal abuse Wonder. I must now in good conscience report you to the authorities.

      Feed the World?

      Dugout signal for walks. That’s a good thing- right?

    1. will the Nats’ chances go up with Wieters and the eventual completion of the Robertson trade?

      At any rate, they’ll be darn good again. Imagine if Harper has more of ’15 than a ’16 season?

  5. I, for one, never really considered AGon as injury prone. es, he is getting on in age but least year he still drove in 90 runs to tie for the team lead.
    He’s the one player the mgr can count on being in the lineup day after day, week after week, month after month.
    That he has missed only 30 odd days in ELEVEN YEARS is OUTSTANDING!!!!!!!

    1. Richie

      That is why I don’t understand why some or already want him to be traded, and let Bellinger play first.

      That will happen, in due time.

      Bellinger has only played three or four games, in AAA.

      He needs to play at least a year, in AAA.

      He isn’t Corey, but hopefully, he will be almost as good as Corey, when his time comes.

    2. Adrian is two years younger than Rich Hill. Only a year older than McCarthy, Romo and Gutierrez. Two years older than Kazmir. We’ve got some age on this roster.

      1. While Gonzalez doesn’t have to pitch, he has considerably more mileage on him than the likes of Hill and McCarthy who have spent most of their careers on the DL. On the other hand, maybe he has had fewer injuries so he’s in better shape? (He did have surgery for a labral tear a few years back.)

        Any way you slice it, he underperformed his historical averages last year and only time will tell if it was the beginning of the “long goodbye” or just a blip. The Dodgers would do well to give him a little more time off this year to preserve him for the long season and hopefully the postseason.

        1. Exactly!
          Otherwise he will wear down just like he (and Utley) did last season. Even with that you need to cross your fingers those odd ball (mid 30s) injuries don’t pop up.

          I remember Manny hurting his calf running out of the box. Nomar hurt his calf reaching to catch a line drive at 3B. And it’s not for lack of conditioning it’s because of age. Though with these two examples I think they were older than Agon is right now. Let’s just hope for a few more days off for him.

          1. I would question the definition of “mileage”. AGon has played first base and been out there day after day for over a decade. Hill has played a full year once and that was in 2007. If you had to bet – who do you think is more likely to go on the DL this year?

  6. Ball players age and they slow down. It is a natural thing. Happens to even the best of them. Some it happens to very quickly and others it takes a few years. Most players do not get better as they age like Bonds did. Of course we know that was PED related. Adrian and Utley should not play every game. Those little aches and pains ache longer now than say 5 years ago. Gonzalez if he plays less might have better production. I do not expect 30 homers out of the guy anymore, but 19-26 not out of the question and 90 plus ribbies. Utley, well since this will be his first real experience as a scrub, I do not know what they will get, but 6-10 homers would be nice.

  7. The concept of AGon “slowing down” is a strange one. If he gets any slower you’ll need to time him around the bases with a sun dial. I have him with 1 CS this year. I’m optimistic – .280/.340/.440. 20 home runs 90 ribbies. I think having better hitters around him (Puig, Ethier, Forsythe, Seager) and a few extra days rest will help him.

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