Finger woes force CarGo's early exit
Left fielder aggravates sprained right middle digit on swing in first
ATLANTA -- Rockies two-time All-Star left fielder Carlos Gonzalez insisted he doesn't need time on the 15-day disabled list because of a recurring right middle finger sprain, which flared for the third time this month and second time in a week in Wednesday night's 9-0 loss.
Gonzalez reinjured the finger striking out against Braves left-hander Mike Minor in the first inning. He stayed in the game defensively -- long enough for a second-inning throw to the plate for an out -- but left before his fourth-inning at-bat.
The injury occurred originally on July 7 on an awkward swing on a pitch from D-backs starter Patrick Corbin, and Gonzalez hurt it again last Thursday on a swing against the Marlins' Nathan Eovaldi. After Wednesday's exit, Gonzalez underwent a further X-ray and talked with a doctor, and the diagnosis didn't change.
Rockies manager Walt Weiss said whether to DL Gonzalez was "a conversation," but both Gonzalez and head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said the finger is going to be an issue for the rest of the season. Gonzalez believes he should play the rest of the season and wait for the winter to rest.
"I'll wait a couple days, come back and keep grinding," Gonzalez said. "I don't want to shut it down. I want to continue to play.
"That's how it goes. One bad swing, and we're going back to the same [as before]."
Gonzalez and Dugger have experimented with various tape jobs and protections, as well as ways to hold the bat, but when Gonzalez extends his arms and lets go with the left hand after missing a pitch, the finger is at risk. On Wednesday, Gonzalez let go of the bat -- and it hit plate umpire Marty Foster, who would later leave with a forearm injury. Still, Gonzalez needed treatment.
"It's frustrating for us all," Dugger said.
The injury was to his non-throwing hand, and Gonzalez made a throw from left field in the second inning on the fly to beat Dan Uggla, who was trying to score from second on Andrelton Simmons' single. TV replays showed catcher Yorvit Torrealba didn't appear to tag Uggla, but the throw was pinpoint.
However, DJ LeMahieu batted for Gonzalez in the fourth and stayed in the game at second base while Charlie Culberson moved from second base to left field.
Gonzalez is batting .303 and leading the team in home runs (26) and RBIs (70).
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.