Gonzalez increases workload

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Boston Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez continues to increase his workload hitting balls off a tee as he works his way back from offseason shoulder surgery.

He took 36 swings Thursday and is scheduled to increase the workload a bit on Friday.

“He’s building up volume as he goes,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “It’ll probably be two- and three-day increments. He did real well. He tolerated everything.”

Gonzalez swung a bat for the first time since his surgery Monday, taking 20 swings and feeling good. He took 30 swings Tuesday and had the day off from hitting Wednesday before picking it back up Thursday.

Gonzalez had surgery to repair the labrum in his right shoulder last October and he’s expected to be ready for Opening Day.

While his hitting is a day-by-day process, Gonzalez hasn’t had any issues working on his defense at first base.

“He’s very smooth,” Francona said. “His reputation is solid, but it’s actually fun when you see it in person. He’s really good.”