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Adrian Gonzalez sidelined with sore back after greeting child at mall

(AP)It was just a few days ago that we put Boston's Adrian Gonzalez atop a list of disappointing players who needed a great start to the second half of the season.

But what actually ended up happening to the 30-year-old old first baseman on the day baseball returned from the All-Star break probably qualifies as the exact opposite of a great start.

From the Boston Globe:

Gonzalez was getting a cup of coffee at the International Plaza in Tampa when he bent over to say hello to a child in a stroller. That's when he felt his lower back lock up.

"I have no idea how it happened," said Gonzalez, who has never had back problems before. "It was something I've done a million times."

Gonzalez tried to play on Friday night, but was scratched from the lineup an hour before first pitch. He was out again on Saturday night, the Red Sox starting Brett Lillibridge at first base against the Rays.

Gonzalez told reporters and teammates that it was the type of back spasms that would only keep him out a few days, and he's in Sunday's lineup against the Tampa Bay Rays. Gonzalez hit .283/.329/.416 with six homers and 45 RBIs in the first half of the season and Red Sox fans are hoping he can start fixing his uncharacteristically low walk rate (6.2 percent, well off his career rate of 10.9) and bring some more power as Boston tries to secure one of the two wild-card spots in the American League.

But no. Now they'll have to wait at least a little while longer because some wiener kid being pushed on his way to Gymboree needed a high five. And poor A-Gone, injured trying to please the smallest subjects of a Red Sox Nation that has grown too unwieldy in the past decade. Chalk this one up to the old maxim that nice guys do finish last.

OK, so I'm kidding. But I can sympathize with Gonzalez's aging plight. I'm just three years older than him and I threw my back out three times while writing this post.

Big BLS H/N: CBS Eye on Baseball

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