World Baseball Classic: Adrian Gonzalez returns feeling better at the plate

USA TODAY Sports

Gonzalez, who was 4-for-17 (.235) with four walks and a hit by pitch in seven Cactus League games, said he hopes to carry over his WBC success at the plate into games with the Dodgers.

Adrian Gonzalez returned to Dodgers camp from the World Baseball Classic that had its high and low points for Team Mexico. The team beat the United States with the help of Gonzalez and Luis Cruz, but that was the only win in three games for Mexico.

Neither Gonzalez nor Cruz are playing Monday against the Brewers, but both participated in workouts and took batting practice on Monday, and they will return to game action beginning Tuesday.

"We had good times and bad times. Obviously losing to Italy and Canada weren't good, but beating the U.S.A. was fun. But the goal was to move on and we didn't," Gonzalez said. "At the time (beating the U.S.) was huge, but still we would have had to beat Canada to make it, to be worth everything. But it was a big win for us. It goes to show that the game of baseball is funny. You may have the talent to beat anybody in the world, but it always comes down to who plays the best game."

That last sentence seems to apply to the Dodgers as well, who have spent most of the last year acquiring players but though it didn't ultimately pay off in 2012 the hope is that 2013 sees the Dodgers play "the best game" in the division.

Part of that hope rests in the bat of Gonzalez, who feels better now at the plate than he did a week ago.

"I'm feeling good. I went into it feeling a little off, but obviously once it mattered and mentally I clicked it kind of locked in for me. That's always good, and I'll try to continue that feeling I had," Gonzalez said. "I was able to work some counts and draw some walks, and I know that's going to be big for me this year. I stayed in my zone and stayed on the ball, and overall I felt pretty good."

Manager Don Mattingly liked what he saw from Gonzalez and Cruz at the plate in the WBC.

"I know Adrian walked a bunch, and he said he felt good," Mattingly said. "I talked to some people at the game that said Cruzer looked really good."

Gonzalez had three hits in seven at-bats, including a home run in the WBC, plus six walks and a hit by pitch. Asked if he had any ill effects from getting hit in the knee by a pitch against Italy on Thursday, Gonzalez quipped, "No, but I think the ball needed ice though."

Gonzalez also didn't suffer any bruises in the brawl between Mexico and Canada, in part thanks to former big leaguer Larry Walker, now the first base coach for Canada. As the brawl escalated, Walker pulled Gonzalez back and told him he was too important for the game to be involved in the melee.

"He had an outside perspective and didn't want me to get involved. I was just trying to make sure nobody got any cheap shots in on my side. He's a big guy, and he was kind of blocking me, so I saw most of the fight on video afterwards. He had me for most of the whole brawl," Gonzalez said. "I think if I was a coach and in his situation, I would probably do the same thing."

In case you missed it from 2012: Maryvale Baseball Park tour

Notes

  • Chad Billingsley, who felt tightness in his groin last week, was able to pitch his bullpen session on Sunday without problems and remains on schedule to start Wednesday in a 'B' game against minor leaguers on the back fields at Camelback Ranch on an off day for the team.
  • Javy Guerra will be limited over the next few days because of the groin injury he said he felt on Sunday, though said he felt fine on Monday.

    "He said he iced last night and I asked him how he felt, and he felt good. But telling me that and going through the steps the trainers go through will be different," Mattingly said. "It will slow him down a little bit, that's for sure. But it shouldn't be anything extended, as long as we take care of it right now and don't yet it go any farther. We'll be cautious for a few days."
  • Relief pitchers Brandon League, Kenley Jansen, and J.P. Howell will all pitch two innings in a 'B' game on Tuesday afternoon at Camelback Ranch. The Dodgers have a night game at Goodyear against the Reds on Tuesday night.
  • Carl Crawford took 100 swings on Monday, his fifth consecutive day of hitting without any problems or irritation in his left arm or elbow.
  • Paco Rodriguez, Josh Wall, and Chris Reed are scheduled to pitch for the Dodgers on Monday after Ryu. Reed, up from minor league camp, is wearing number 91.
  • Other minor leaguers in uniform for the Dodgers on Monday are pitchers Geison Aguasviva (No. 83), Eric Eadington (No. 89), and Yimi Garcia (No. 90); and infielders Rafael Ynoa (No. 82), O'Koyea Dickson (No. 88), and Scott Van Slyke (No. 94).
  • Scheduled to pitch for Milwaukee after Fiers are Mike Gonzalez, Donovan Hand, Brandon Kintzler, and Jesus Sanchez.
  • Minor leaguers in uniform for the Brewers on Monday include pitchers Jim Hoey (No. 45), Chris Jakubauskas (No. 47), Casey Medlen (No. 52); and infielders Hector Gomez (No. 26), Brandon Macias (No. 25), and Nick Shaw (No. 18).
  • The Dodgers will host Japan's Meiji University Baseball Club beginning on Tuesday at Camelback Ranch, and will play a pair of exhibition minor league games against them on Tuesday and Thursday at 11 a.m. on the minor league fields. This is the second trip to Camelback Ranch for Meiji, who also visited in 2010.

Game info

Time: 1:05 p.m. PT

TV: Fox Sports Wisconsin (Brewers broadcast, with former DodgerTalk co-host Joe Block)

Radio: MLB.com (Brewers broadcast)

MLB Gameday

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