CHICAGO -- It happens only once or twice every season for Adrian Gonzalez. The Red Sox decided to make Sunday that rare time when Gonzalez was not in the starting lineup, marking the first time that has happened in 2012.
Over the previous five seasons, Gonzalez has averaged 160 games per season.
The Red Sox have a team off-day on Monday, which gives Gonzalez two days of rest before the opener of a homestand on Tuesday.
Gonzalez has been rotating between right field and first base over the last several weeks and has struggled to get in a sustained groove offensively.
"He's just done everything we've asked," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "For him to give any inkling that a day is needed and for me not to receive the message would be something I'd regret. It's been a tough stretch for him. He's been grinding it out every day and, you know, going out to right field."
Valentine began to sense in the late innings on Saturday that this was a good time to get Gonzalez a blow.
"Matter of fact, he was out on the bases when I made the defensive switch yesterday and for the first time, he was even thinking about coming off the field [instead of moving from right field to first base]," Valentine said. "That was my first inkling. But he also thinks the game. Knows who's coming up before him, it would probably be a situation that would be best suited on the lineup card to keep [David Ortiz] in, I just decided to protect that one run."
Gonzalez is hitting .265 with five homers and 35 RBIs.
In his absence, Ortiz played first, Kevin Youkilis was at third and Darnell McDonald was in right during a 7-4 win over the Cubs. Gonzalez entered as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning and struck out with two runners on base.