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Adrian Gonzalez plays catch

Adrian Gonzalez tossed a baseball on Monday with his brother Edgar Gonzalez at the Gonzalez Sports Academy outside San Diego, the first time that the left-handed first baseman has played catch since having surgery on his right shoulder.

Gonzalez, who was traded to the Red Sox in December, has been diligently rehabilitating his shoulder since his procedure, and he can feel the progress day by day. As he lay on a trainer's table at Petco Park on Monday, he was able to angle his shoulder in a way he could not last week.

After he played catch, Gonzalez said that if one of his brother's throws had been too high, he would've just let it go rather than extend his right arm for it.

Assuming that his rehabilitation continues to go seamlessly, Gonzalez could start swinging a bat sometime in late February -- although the sense is that he might be ahead of schedule. Gonzalez may well head to the Red Sox's spring training facility in the week of Feb. 7 to continue his conditioning and shoulder work.

He had surgery Oct. 20 to clean up the labrum of his right shoulder.

The Red Sox acquired Gonzalez from the Padres in December for minor leaguers Anthony Rizzo, Casey Kelly and Reymond Fuentes and utility player Eric Patterson.

A three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner, Gonzalez batted .298 last season with 31 homers and 101 RBIs.

Senior writer Buster Olney covers baseball for ESPN The Magazine.