All-Star outfielder aggravated injury Sunday; left-hander Francis recalled
NEW YORK -- The Rockies tried to avoid this, but they couldn't any longer. Colorado on Wednesday placed left fielder Carlos Gonzalez on the 15-day disabled list as he continues to battle a sprained right middle finger.
"It's been one of those situations where he feels good, we run him out there, and then with one swing he sets himself back," manager Walt Weiss said. "It's been tough to juggle it that way. I think this is the way to go."
The Rockies recalled pitcher Jeff Francis from Triple-A Colorado Springs as the corresponding move.
Gonzalez suffered the injury on his follow through back on July 7, when he swung at a slider from Arizona pitcher Patrick Corbin. Ever since, the sprain hasn't improved and the chronic pain continued to hinder Gonzalez at the plate. The pain especially flared up whenever he tried to reach for pitches on the outer half of the plate against left-handed pitchers.
He aggravated the injury during his final at-bat in Pittsburgh on Sunday, and he hasn't played since.
It's been a difficult situation for Gonzalez and the Rockies. The outfielder hasn't been able to stay in the lineup consistently, and despite days of rest, the pain never subsided completely.
"It's hard. Obviously I want to be in the lineup," Gonzalez said. "I want to be able to help the team. It's just one of those things I tried to avoid the whole time. I tried to stay away from it. I took chances. I think the best thing right now for me and the team is to go on the DL."
Gonzalez was hitting .302 with 26 home runs -- tied for second in the National League entering Wednesday's game -- and 70 RBIs. He also had a .591 slugging percentage and .367 on-base percentage.
Weiss said Corey Dickerson and Charlie Blackmon will likely split playing time in left field in place of Gonzalez. Dickerson is hitting .293 with one home run and four RBIs in 58 at-bats, while Blackmon -- who hit a pinch-hit, game-tying homer in Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Mets -- is hitting .237 with two home runs and five RBIs in 76 at-bats.
The Rockies certainly won't be able to replicate the production Gonzalez provides.
Even though this was a last resort, Gonzalez and the Rockies are hoping a stint on the DL proves to be the key to healing his sprained finger. Occasional rest hasn't sufficed, and it's led to a painful month for Gonzalez since that July 7 at-bat.
"I haven't felt the same since then," Gonzalez said. "All I wanted is to feel good enough to play. It was something that it's not getting any better."
Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for MLB.com.