PITTSBURGH -- The standing ovation from teammates in the dugout wasn't the highest compliment paid to Adrian Gonzalez on Tuesday night, when he reached the 2,000-hit milestone with a sixth-inning double in the Dodgers' 8-5 win over the Pirates at PNC Park.
That came after the game, when Gonzalez finished his on-field interview and entered the clubhouse, where he was again greeted by loud applause from teammates that appreciate the entire body of the 35-year-old's work.
"It's cool, one of those milestones that just means I have a lot to be grateful for and thankful for," Gonzalez said. "That was really cool, special, seeing the guys in the dugout, the Dodgers fans in the stands. I know there's a lot of people back home smiling as well, especially my wife and my kids and my parents and my brother. It's a cool feeling."
Gonzalez doesn't think he's finished, and the Dodgers don't either, even though more than two months on the disabled list with a herniated disc left his future in doubt. He returned only last week and is 4-for-21 with a pair of doubles in five games, adding a walk and two runs on Tuesday night.
"I feel good," Gonzalez said. "I feel like I've had some hard outs, squared up some balls. I don't think the results are all the way there, but the process is there. The body feels good. When I hit the ball, it's coming out with authority. I'm happy so far. [Not having pain] is the biggest thing in the world. I think everything I did to stay away from my back and let it heal and let it rest, up until now, it's been successful."
Gonzalez's return to first base prompted Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to move Cody Bellinger to the outfield, and while playing right field on Saturday in Detroit, Bellinger sprained his right ankle to wind up on the DL. But with Gonzalez back at first base and Curtis Granderson's acquisition, the Dodgers haven't run out of quality players.
"When you can have Adrian Gonzalez hit seventh in your lineup, it pretty much sums it up for me after what I've seen over the last seven years," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "The guy got his 2,000th career hit tonight. He's hitting seventh."
Gonzalez's double off reliever Johnny Barbato marked his 742nd hit as a Dodger in a career that includes stops with Texas, San Diego and Boston. He was the first player taken in the 2000 Draft by the Marlins and was traded to the Rangers in '03. Earlier this season, he went on the DL for the first time in a 14-year career with right elbow soreness.
Since joining the Dodgers in 2012, Gonzalez leads the club in home runs, RBIs, runs scored, doubles and walks.
"It was only fitting for him to hit a double for 2,000, he's had a lot of doubles in his career," Roberts said. "The longevity for 2,000 hits, I can't fathom. It's quite a milestone. We have guys that can hit balls out of the ballpark, but to have that professional at-bat like Granderson also gives us, to run up pitch counts, take the walk, it's invaluable. The consistent quality of at-bat Adrian gives us when he's right is taxing on a starter."
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.