Although Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine wouldn't disclose the ailment that kept Adrian Gonzalez out of the Sox' series opening, 3-1 win over the Rays Friday night, WEEI.com has learned the first baseman's absence was due to a stiff back.
The back problem wasn't believed to be serious, with Gonzalez possibly being ready for a return to the Sox' lineup for Saturday night's game. It also wasn't an issue at any time prior to the All-Star break. He had missed the final game of the Yankees series, last Sunday, due to an illness he was still fighting off as of the team's workout Thursday.
Gonzalez was scratched from the Red Sox' lineup just before first pitch Friday night at Tropicana Field, being replaced in the cleanup spot by David Ortiz. He did make an appearance in the on-deck circle in the seventh inning with one out and runners on first and third, with Valentine attempting to prevent the Rays from walking Ortiz to get to Gomez. But the decoy didn't work, with Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon intentionally walking the Sox' designated hitter to load the bases, leading to an inning-ending, 5-4-3 double play.
"I didn’t think he was moving around real well today and I made the decision to scratch him," Valentine said. "Again, precautionary to make sure nothing happens to keep him out more than a day."
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