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Dodgers can count on steady Adrian Gonzalez

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 15, 2014 at 8:51 pm •  Published: February 15, 2014

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly never worries about Adrian Gonzalez. He doesn't have to. The first baseman is always available.

"An everyday player," Mattingly said.

Gonzalez has been a sturdy player throughout his career. Last season he played in 157 games, 15 more than anybody else on the Dodgers during a season in which injuries to center fielder Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez contributed to big-spending Los Angeles' falling short of its goal of reaching a World Series.

"Being able to stay healthy is a blessing," said Gonzalez, who played at least 160 games in each of four successive seasons from 2007-10 when he was with the San Diego Padres. "That's one part of it. The other part is that my body has been built for the long haul."

The Dodgers are already dealing with injuries. Cuban defector Yasiel Puig has been having pain in his right shoulder. An MRI revealed some inflammation, but Mattingly says it's not believed to be serious. Puig had similar problems periodically last season. Still, the dynamic outfielder took batting practice Saturday, but has cut back on his throwing drills.

Gonzalez, who trains in the offseason with Chris Byrd, a former heavyweight champ and a 1992 Olympic silver medalist, had 22 home runs and 100 RBIs while hitting .293 last season. Along with Puig, a midseason arrival, he helped lead the Dodgers to the AL West title after an awful start.

Much of the Dodgers success came without Kemp and Ramirez on the field.

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