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Mattingly expects Gonzalez to play MLB opener

AP - Sports
Mattingly expects Gonzalez to play MLB opener

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The Los Angeles Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez laughs during a press conference at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney, Tuesday, March 18, 2014. The MLB season-opening two-game series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney will be played this weekend. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

SYDNEY (AP) -- Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly doesn't expect lower back tightness to keep first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from playing in the Major League Baseball season opener Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Gonzalez, who led the Dodgers last year by playing 157 games, said he tweaked his back while stretching ahead of an exhibition game against Australia on Thursday night. He came out in the fourth inning of the 4-2 Dodgers' win and didn't take part in the team's workout Friday.

Mattingly, who announced his starting lineup Friday for the opener with Gonzalez batting cleanup, said in his clubhouse office Friday that ''there are no red flags'' from Gonzalez at this point and he expected him to play at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the first regular-season game in Australia.

''He's not going to hit today,'' Mattingly added later on the field. ''He did a little bit in the (batting) cage. Still expecting him to go tomorrow.''

Gonzalez is having a good spring training, coming into Thursday's game batting .303 in 13 games.

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