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Neck bothering Adrian Gonzalez

BOSTON -- Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona acknowledged before Wednesday's game that a stiff neck might be playing a role in the lack of power from first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who has just two homers in his last 199 plate appearances.

"I think he still feels it," Francona said. "But I think about every player in the league right now is probably not perfect, especially the guys who play every inning of every day. It may have cut into his power a little bit, but he'll play and will continue to play. If there were ever a chance we could give him a couple of days off, we'd probably do it, but it's not the time to do it right now."

Gonzalez has missed just two games with the injury, which hasn't seemed to affect his ability to get on base. Though he has just two homers since June 26, he is hitting .329 with a .407 on-base percentage in that span.

With David Ortiz out of the lineup with bursitis in his right heel, Gonzalez served as the Red Sox's designated hitter on Wednesday against the Rays. The Red Sox lost, 4-0.

"For the most part I don't think Gonzy really likes it, but today is a day he'll happily do it," Francona said.

Joe McDonald covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.