ST. PETERSBURG -- Adrian Gonzalez was out of Boston's starting lineup for the second straight game Saturday and is considered "real doubtful" for Sunday's series finale due to lower back spasms.
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine decided it was best to sit Gonzalez, who hadn't missed a game this season and has played 159 or more every year since 2006, rather than risk having to place another star player on the disabled list. The first baseman said he's never had an injury like this before, but he's "not at all" concerned about it after talking to other players who have had similar spasms.
Valentine projected Gonzalez would be back in the lineup by the beginning of next week, and Gonzalez figured it would take three days at the most.
"We're being real cautious," Valentine said. "He has a little situation in his lower back that came on quickly and hopefully will leave quickly."
Gonzalez was a late scratch from Friday's lineup. He said his back locked up on him earlier in the day when he was walking around, stopped to greet family and bent down to talk to a child. When he stood back up, he started to feel discomfort. He told Valentine he could play and tried to go through his normal pregame routine while getting treatment, but it wasn't feeling up to par.
He limited his pregame activity Saturday to just swings off a tee right before the game in case he's needed to pinch-hit. He actually made his way to the on-deck circle Friday night in the seventh inning, but when the Rays intentionally walked David Ortiz, Gonzalez jumped back in the dugout and Mauro Gomez took his turn. Gonzalez said he could have hit, but he would have been "swinging all arms."
"He's being cautious with me and so are the trainers. I felt better today," Gonzalez said. "There's still tightness there. If I need to, I can go out there. But they don't want me to push it and aggravate it."