FORT MYERS, Fla. ó Adrian Gonzalez took 20 swings at balls on a tee this morning, the first cuts he has taken since having surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder on Oct. 20.
The original plan was for Gonzalez be examined by his surgeon, Dr. David Altchek, before he started swinging a bat. But when Altchek's arrival in Florida was delayed, the decision was made by telephone. Red Sox medical director Tom Gill consulted with Altchek on Sunday.
Gonzalez will take swings off a tee on Tuesday and Wednesday then take a day off Thursday. Barring any setback, he should be easily be ready for Opening Day on April 1.
Gonzalez reported that today's session felt normal to him. "No pain, everything was great," he said.
In most cases, hitters progress from tee to soft toss and then to batting practice. It is reasonable to predict that Gonzalez could play in exhibition games during the second week of March.
Initial projections had Gonzalez taking swings on March 1. That he is more than a week ahead of schedule is certainly good news for the Red Sox.
UPDATE, 1:50 p.m.: Here's the statement released by the Red Sox:
Adrian reported to Spring Training in excellent condition after working with the team training staff this offseason. He was evaluated on Friday (February 18) at the time of his Spring Training physical examination by the teamís 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 teamís training staff to work on his shoulder rehabilitation program, while incorporating more baseball specific activity as his progression allows.