Monday, February 21, 2011

Gonzalez Cleared to Swing the Bat

In case anybody missed this earlier today.

Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports that Adrian Gonzalez has been cleared to start swinging the bat.  According to the report, Gonzalez was examined by team medical director, Dr. Tom Ginn on Friday, and was reported to have "full range of motion, no tenderness, and excellent strength" in the surgically repaired shoulder.  After a discussion with Dr. Altchek, the man who performed surgery on his torn labrum this past fall, the two sides agreed that Gonzalez was ready to take the next step in his rehab.

Earlier this morning, Gonzalez took that next step by taking 20 swings off of a tee, and apparently he did not hold back.

"I didn't hold back," said Gonzalez. "I took good healthy swings and I felt fine. You're waiting to see if you feel something different, and I didn't, so it was a good sign."

Over the next three days, Gonzalez will continue to take swings off of the tee.  If all goes well, there's a chance the training staff could clear him to start taking live batting practice by early next week.  While there's no word as to when Gonzalez will make an appearance during the Grapefruit League schedule, he is expected to be 100% ready to contribute by Opening Day on April 1st.

Clearly, this is great news for both the team and Red Sox fans.  Gonzalez is considered by most to be the acquisition that tipped the balance of power in the AL East away from the Yankees.  In 2010, Gonzalez put together an All-Star caliber season posting a .378 wOBA with 5.3 WAR and Fielding Bible Award quality defense, while with the Padres.  Many figure his numbers to improve this season after moving from the pitching friendly environment of Petco Park to Fenway Park, a park known to heavily advantage hitters.

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