Adrian Gonzalez Will Look to Build Off Strong Opening Day

Yes, it was only one game.

A 35-year-old coming off of a significant injury is never a sure thing, but Adrian Gonzalez‘ Opening Day performance for the New York Mets in their 9-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday sure was encouraging.

His productive day at the plate, on a gloomy, damp day after spending the last six weeks in sunny Florida was great to see.

After drawing a walk in the third inning, Gonzo ripped an RBI double to right field, scoring Todd Frazier and giving the Mets 4-3 lead in the fifth.

The first baseman laced another single to right in the sixth inning and drew another walk in the eighth to end his day, going 2-for-3 with two walks and a run scored.

After a spring full of doubts and a bit of non-productivity at the plate from Gonzo, having the type of day that he did on Thursday must have been relieving on many fronts to many folks.

Gonzalez recently told Fred Kerber of the New York Post that he has kept to his now-consistent message that he doesn’t focus on Spring Training results.

“I’ve said it many times, spring training is not for me,” he said.”I can’t game plan in spring training. I can’t get my body going. I can’t get a lot of things going like you can in the regular season.”

No one should be expecting Gonzalez to be the player he once was. Of course, if he is even a shell of the player he was in his prime, it will be a win for the Mets’ front-office who took a shot on the former slugger.

Over his 14-year career, Gonzalez has hit to the tune of .288 with a .847 OPS, 311 home runs, and 1,176 RBI. His career OPS+ is a staggering 130 and his wins-above-replacement, as per baseball-reference.com, is 42.8.

Clearly, this is a player who, when healthy, was a force to be reckoned with and an absolute nightmare for opposing pitchers. If he can get back to being even the 2015 version of himself (.275/.350/.480, 28 homers, 90 RBI, 130 OPS+, 4.1 WAR), it would give this team a much clearer path at success this season.

“It was great,” Gonzalez said after Thursday’s win. “Obviously getting off to a good start is huge, both personally and as a team. We were able to accomplish both, good day overall.”

Hopefully, A-Gon’s impressive first showing is a sign of things to come for the 35-year-old slugging, on-base machine.

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A native of the South Shore of Long Island. Follow me on Twitter @TimothyRRyder