LOS ANGELES — The last time Adrian Gonzalez collected a base hit before Thursday, it was the sixth inning of a game between the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants on May 2. The line drive left his bat at 82.5 mph, with enough height to beat the Giants’ defensive shift for a single.
A couple days later, Gonzalez acquiesced to going on the disabled list for the first time in his career. Back and forearm injuries left him less than 100 percent healthy. He still wasn’t 100 percent when he returned to the Dodgers’ lineup on Thursday, but he was healthy enough to play.
“That’s why I’m active,” Gonzalez said before dashing off to a hitter’s meeting Thursday.
Gonzalez started at first base after a 14-day layoff and batted sixth against the Miami Marlins. His first hit, a single against Edinson Volquez, was a tad more solid than the last: a 96-mph flare to roughly the same soft spot in the Marlins’ shift.
Maybe those extra mph on contact are a harbinger of better days. Gonzalez still has a monkey on his back. His last extra-base hit was a double on April 25. If a 14-day layoff was enough, maybe now Gonzalez has a fighting chance of resembling the man who swatted 301 homers from 2006-16.
“I do expect the ball to come off better,” Manager Dave Roberts said prior to the game.
Gonzalez was 6 for 26, with two walks and six strikeouts, in eight games prior to going on the DL.
“Number one, I want him to be in the strike zone,” Roberts said. “Sometimes he has a tendency, like a lot of hitters do, to get over-aggressive and get outside the zone. If he’s in the strike zone I expect good contact. For him … the power will come if he takes passes at balls in the strike zone.”
Scott Van Slyke was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room for Gonzalez on the Dodgers’ 25-man roster.
Roberts is one of 16 members of the MLB commissioner’s competition committee, a group charged with studying all aspects of the game and advising…