FORT MYERS, Fla. — Adrian Gonzalez is ready to take the next step in his hitting drills.
Gonzalez increased his swing count to 45 on Friday morning, his highest total since he began using the bat earlier in the week. He will likely start with flips — balls tossed softly from the side — on Saturday, and soon will be taking an easy batting practice.
“I think the progression is tee to flips, see how he responds to a couple of days and then soft BP,” said bench coach DeMarlo Hale. “Adrian knows himself and that’s a good thing. I don’t think he’s in any kind of panicked state or feels behind.”
Gonzalez, who had right shoulder surgery in October, has been taking part in all infield drills and was an active participant in sliding drills Friday morning. He said he doesn’t start swinging until spring training anyway, so the timetable will not have an impact.
If he does ever feel like he needs to play catch-up, Gonzalez will be given every opportunity.
“Once you get to the point that he needs some at-bats we can always send him down here to the minor leagues and get him quite a few at-bats in a day,” Hale said.