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Adrian Gonzalez cleared to swing away… off a tee

02.21.11 at 12:42 pm ET

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox announced Monday that newly-acquired slugger Adrian Gonzalez has been cleared to hit off a batting tee after surgery on his right shoulder last October. The surgery was not reconstructive and the Red Sox traded for the first baseman in December knowing that he would be ready for the 2011 season.

On Sunday, Red Sox team doctor Tom Gill spoke with Mets team doctor David Altchek, who performed the procedure in October and a decision was made that Gonzalez was feeling strong enough and had done enough rehab to allow him to start swinging. On Monday morning before team workouts, Gonzalez took 20 swings off the tee and felt good.

“He’s going to hit off the tee the three days and then take a day and then we’ll see how he feels but he’s been coming along so well and Dr. Gill spoke with Dr. Altchek and there were no qualms about letting him proceed so we were thrilled,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.

“I’ll be excited when we win the World Series,” Gonzalez added.’€œTwenty swings, that’€™s all it was. It felt good.”

Gonzalez said Monday’s activity was a sign he was right where Dr. Altchek indicated he would be following the procedure on the labrum in October.

“They said four months to start swinging and today is four months plus a day so I’€™m on schedule,’€ he said. “It’€™s just like going into the offseason and not swinging a bat.’€

If all goes well, the Red Sox hope to have Gonzalez taking live batting practice at about the same time Grapefruit League games begin next week.

Just prior to Gonzalez and Francona speaking Monday, the Red Sox issued the following statement on the timetable and details leading up to Monday’s decision to allow Gonzalez to hit off a tee.

‘€œAdrian reported to Spring Training in excellent condition after working with the team training staff this offseason. He was evaluated on Friday [Feb. 18] at the time of his Spring Training physical examination by the team’€™s medical staff. At that time, he was noted to have full range of motion, no tenderness, and excellent strength.

“Based upon this examination, Medical Director Dr. Tom Gill spoke with Dr. Altchek yesterday, who performed the surgery, and it was agreed that Adrian could begin hitting off of a tee. Adrian will continue to work with Head Athletic Trainer Mike Reinold and the team’€™s training staff to work on his shoulder rehabilitation program, while incorporating more baseball specific activity as his progression allows.’€

Despite the aching shoulder, Gonzalez played in 160 games for the second straight season for the Padres in 2010. He batted .298 with 31 homers and 101 RBIs. He played in all 162 games in 2008 and 161 in 2007.

‘€œNumbers were good so it didn’€™t really affect me numbers-wise. It made me adjust my swing a little bit so I wanted to go up there and get back to my normal swing.’€ said Gonzalez, before admitting he was playing with pain. ‘€œOh yeah, it was a good amount of pain. I could deal with it.’€

The durable Gonzalez said there was no reason to hold back on Monday since he’s been building the strength in the shoulder all winter.

“I didn’€™t hold back, I took good healthy swings and I felt fine,” he said. “You’€™re waiting to see if you feel something different and I didn’€™t so it was a good sign.

“I’€™ve been ready to swing. It was just a matter of getting the clearance. First, it was today that I was supposed to see a doctor and then it was pushed back to a couple of days later and he still hadn’€™t reported down to St. Lucie, so we didn’€™t know exactly what day it was going to be so we just kind of turned it around and had Dr. Gill give him a call. He checked me during the physicals. On his take, I was good so we went ahead with it.’€

Read More: 2011 Spring Training, adrian gonzalez, Boston Red Sox, MLB
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