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Saturday, July 14, 2012
Gonzalez out again with back spasms

By Gordon Edes

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Adrian Gonzalez was not in the lineup for the second straight game Saturday night and was doubtful to play Sunday, according to manager Bobby Valentine.

The issue? Back spasms.

Gonzalez worked out Thursday when the team gathered here after the All-Star break. "I was perfectly fine that day," he said. "[Friday], the more I did the more it tightened up. Just locked up. Weird."

About an hour before Friday's game, a 3-1 Red Sox win, Gonzalez was scratched from the starting lineup, replaced by Mauro Gomez.

"I told Bobby yesterday, 'I can play if you want me to. I can get enough heat on my back, numbing pills I can just forget about it and gut my way through it,'" Gonzalez said. "He doesn't want me to do anything.

"It's better today. They just don't want me to do anything."

This will be the third game Gonzalez has not started this season. He played in 159 games last season, his first with Boston, and played 160 games or more in his last four seasons in San Diego. He had not missed back-to-back games since becoming an every-day player in 2006.

Meanwhile, to make room for Clay Buchholz, who came off the DL for his start Saturday night, the Red Sox have optioned Gomez back to Pawtucket. Gomez hit .308 in six games here, the first five of which he started at third base. He knocked in three runs and committed four errors.

With Gonzalez out, Brent Lillibridge drew the start at first base. He has made 14 big league starts at the position. Bobby Valentine mentioned Nick Punto and Jarrod Saltalamacchia as other options there, and of course David Ortiz can play the position. Punto was receiving treatment on his ankle after Ben Zobrist slid hard into him in the eighth inning Friday, but said he thought he'd be fine.