Gonzalez ends his night a little early

LOS ANGELES -- Part of the plan Thursday night was to get three plate appearances for the starting position players on the Los Angeles Dodgers, then calling it a night. Adrian Gonzalez came up one at-bat short in the 7-5 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Angels.

Gonzalez was hit just above the right elbow on a pitch from Angels starter Hector Santiago, one batter after Hanley Ramirez had clubbed a solo home run for a 1-0 lead with two outs in the third inning. Gonzalez walked slowly to first base and then left the game between innings.

Gonzalez caught a break because the ball hit part of his elbow pad, but Gonzalez was still sporting a lump and had the arm wrapped as he watched the middle innings from inside the Dodgers' clubhouse. He showed no signs of distress as he rooted for the San Diego State men's basketball team in their NCAA tournament game against Arizona.

Gonzalez, a San Diego native, said he felt some numbness in the elbow after he was nailed, but said he probably could have stayed in the game if it were the regular season.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly agreed.

"He had two at-bats, he was going to get one more, [but it] didn't seem to be worth it," Mattingly said. "Might as well get ice on that thing and try to keep the swelling down."

Mattingly said he planned to insert Gonzalez back in the lineup Friday night when the Dodgers host the Angels in the middle game of the three-game exhibition series.

Stephen Fife is scheduled to start for the Dodgers. Garrett Richards will take the hill for the Angels.