Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is not on the postseason roster and, given a reoccurrence of his back injury in his final at bat of the season, stood no chance to be on the roster. He’s physically unable to play.
He could, if he wanted, be in the Dodgers clubhouse during the World Series, however, as non-roster players often are. As Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports, however, he has chosen not to. He’s in Europe with his family.
Gonzalez has the blessing of the Dodgers team brass in his absence, with GM Farhan Zaidi saying, “[h]e’s taking time with his family. I think guys totally understand that.” Gonzalez’s teammates quoted by Shaikin are generally OK with it, though a couple at least hint that it’d be nice if he were around. No one, on the record or off, is actively grumbling.
Still, it’s kind of odd. Gonzales was not a part of the Dodgers success in 2017, but he has been a key part of the club for many years now. He’s also been a vocal clubhouse leader over the years, so you’d think he’d want to be around and that his teammates would like to have him there. As many players have noted, of course, it’s very hard to be a leader — heck, it’s even hard to simply feel comfortable — when you’re not active. This story about Adam Eaton from last summer explains that in pretty compelling detail.
Strange that, if the Dodgers win it all, Gonzalez will learn about it from his phone, waking up in a European hotel or a rented villa or something.
After 16 years in the majors, longtime Tigers DH Victor Martinez capped his career with one final start at Comerica Park. Although there are seven games remaining in the club’s regular season schedule, Martinez said he felt he owed it to the fans to record his final at-bat at home. He’ll still cheer the rest of the team on from the dugout when they hit the road for their last six-game stretch on Monday, though he’s not expected to slot into the lineup at any point during their back-to-back away series against the Twins and Brewers.
In order to commemorate the occasion, the Tigers arranged a pregame ceremony to celebrate the veteran infielder’s seven years with the team, during which they presented him with Topps baseball cards, a recliner, a pair of boots, and a saddle, among other honors. Martinez also put in a special request to play first base, a position he hadn’t manned in over two years.
The 39-year-old didn’t waste a single minute of his final start in the majors. He deftly handled an inning-ending out in the top of the first, then laced a rare infield single to short in his first and final at-bat of the afternoon, beating the throw to first and advancing Nicholas Castellanos to second base in order to set up the Tigers’ first run: a two-out RBI single from Niko Goodrum that brought Castellanos home to score.
“I think that at-bat was the perfect at-bat to describe my career,” Martinez told reporters after the Tigers wrapped a 5-4 win over the Royals. “I had to sweat it out. I had to sweat it out the whole way. I had to grind it. That was my whole career.”
Following the hit — and the standing ovation that greeted it — the switch-hitter was promptly replaced by pinch-runner Ronny Rodriguez, who subbed in at second base in the top of the second while Goodrum shifted from second to first base. Taking Saturday’s performance into account, Martinez polished off his big league career with a lifetime .295/.360/.455 batting line, 423 doubles, 246 home runs, 1,178 RBI, and 28.4 fWAR across 1,973 games and three separate stints for the Indians, Red Sox, and Tigers. His accomplishments at the plate have been decorated with five All-Star nominations, two Silver Slugger Awards, and the designated hitter-exclusive Edgar Martinez Award following a career-best campaign in 2014.