Adrian Gonzalez‘s troublesome back, which has given him problems for nearly five years, could be enough to end the slugger’s career.
The Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman, who’s been sidelined for over a week with herniated discs, said Wednesday that if his back isn’t in good shape when his contract expires at the end of next season, he may call it quits.
“I want to get back this year to help the team and for me to be healthy,” Gonzalez told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “But I’m thinking more long term about being able to play more years.
“Because if I have to deal with this next year again? That’ll probably be it. My contract will be over, that’ll probably be it. I won’t play any more. If I can heal it and my body feels good? Now I can go out there and do the things I can do. Then I’ll keep playing.
“I want to be out there. I want to be out there playing. But I don’t want to be out there playing when I’m hurt.”
After playing the first 13 years of his career without landing on the disabled list, Gonzalez has been on it twice this season because of recurring back issues.
His poor health has also caused his production to deteriorate this season, as he’s hitting just .255/.304/.339 with one home run and 23 RBIs in 49 games.
The 35-year-old told Plunkett there’s no timetable for his return, but that he expects to be re-evaluated after a month. He also said doctors told him a surgical procedure to correct his back may be “career ending.”
“If it’s not going to get any better, if it’s just going to continue to get worse – then I’ll play out my contract the way I can and that’s it,” Gonzalez said.
The five-time All-Star owns a career slash line of .289/.360/.489 with 309 home runs and 1,169 RBIs. He’s also won four Gold Glove awards.