It wasn't a sneeze or heavy lifting or any other one of the myriad fluke reasons for back injuries suffered by athletes over the years — rather, it was Gonzalez's kindness in saying hello to a fan that caused the trouble for the star first baseman, according to Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe.
During a trip to a local mall in Tampa Bay, the Red Sox first baseman was looking to grab a cup of coffee. But upon running into a family, Gonzalez bent down to engage a young child in a stroller.
As he hunched over, Gonzalez felt his lower back lock up. While he eventually returned to the Red Sox lineup on Sunday, the back spasms caused Gonzalez to miss the first two games of the three-game series against the Rays.
"I have no idea how it happened," Gonzalez told reporters in St. Petersburg. "It was something I've done a million times."
The Red Sox hope it won't happen again, after being forced to prepare a contingency plan for an extended absence by their first baseman.
The layoff during the All-Star break could have played a role in throwing off Gonzalez's routine. The first baseman told reporters that he spent time relaxing at Cape Cod with his family during the brief hiatus.
Either way, it's a freak injury for Gonzalez, who inked a seven-year, $154 million contract with the Red Sox in December 2010, and is hoping to overcome a subpar start in the first half of the season.
Entering Sunday's game, Gonzalez had swatted six home runs and driven in 45 runs while batting .283. An early exit in last weekend's game against the Yankees –– due to illness –– snapped his 18-game hitting streak.
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