But it's not because of the illness that forced him to exit last Sunday's game against the Yankees. The Red Sox first baseman is battling back stiffness and doesn't want to re-aggravate the injury.
NESN's Jenny Dell reports that Gonzalez's back locked up as he bent down to greet a young child before Friday's game. Gonzalez told reporters in St. Petersburg on Saturday that Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was holding him out as a precaution.
During the seventh inning of Friday's 3-1 victory, Gonzalez appeared in the on-deck circle, seemingly ready to pinch-hit for Mauro Gomez. Instead, he was a decoy and retreated back to the dugout when the Rays intentionally walked David Ortiz.
If his condition worsens, the Red Sox could be forced to place Gonzalez on the disabled list. It's been the culmination of difficult week for the slugger, who spent the break recovering from flu-like symptoms.
"He got sick during the game where he was coughing," Valentine said after last Sunday's game. "He was getting real dizzy and eyes were watering. He’s been on medication for a while."
Gonzalez's early exit last Sunday also ended his career-high, 18-game hitting streak.
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