Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez is hitting .347 with three home runs and… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)
Adrian Gonzalez is still bothered by a strained neck muscle but said Monday that he intends to play through the discomfort.
Gonzalez, who was out of the lineup in the Dodgers' three previous games, started at first base in the series opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium. The former All-Star first baseman underwent an MRI exam that confirmed the source of Gonzalez's pain was muscular rather than disk related.
"Basically, it's how much pain you can tolerate," Gonzalez said. "I'm going to try to play through it and see how it feels when I'm out there running around and doing all those things."
Gonzalez was injured when he collided with an umpire Wednesday. He pinch-hit Sunday in San Francisco, but removed himself from the game soon after.
"It's not getting worse," he said. "It's been drastic, the change from Thursday to today. But there's still quite a bit of pain there."
Gonzalez said he has been told by the team's medical staff that his condition can improve even if he continues to play.
"I'm at the point now, because I can hit 100%, I'm not going to be hurting the team," he said.
Gonzalez didn't take batting practice on the field Monday.
"I'm not going to be on the field," Gonzalez said. "I'm going to keep it quiet until the game. The last couple days, that's really what flared it up is being out there, running around, getting loose, throwing, stretching, hitting grounders, all that stuff. We're just going to stay away from it all, just be ready for the game."
Asked whether he felt he could handle the demands of playing first base, Gonzalez laughed and said, "Let's hope I don't have to dive for a ball. If I do, we'll see how that goes."
Dodgers' DL is getting crowded
Shortly after second baseman Mark Ellis was put on the disabled list because of a strained quadriceps, utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr. cut short his pregame workout and limped off the field.
Now, it appears Hairston will follow Ellis to the disabled list because of a strained groin muscle.
Hairston would be the 13th Dodger to land on the disabled list.
Hairston's 2012 season ended with an operation on his left hip. His groin strain is on the same leg.
"I know it's the same leg, but it's totally different," Hairston said. "Last year was very different. I was injured. It was something that really affected me moving and swinging. Here, it's more like I don't want to really shred it or hurt it in anyway."
The Dodgers are expected to call up an outfielder to replace Hairston on the active roster. That player probably won't be top prospect Yasiel Puig, who is batting .306 with five home runs and 15 runs batted in for double-A Chattanooga. Candidates to be called up include Scott Van Slyke, Alfredo Amezaga, Tony Gwynn Jr., Elian Herrera and Nick Buss, all of triple-A Albuquerque.
Ellis was taken off the active roster on his 10th day of inactivitiy. Ellis' move is retroactive to April 26, meaning he can be activated as early as Sunday.