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Injured CarGo itching to take practice swings

DENVER -- With the middle and ring fingers of his right hand taped together, Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez sat by his locker with his cherished bats just a foot or so away. It was agony.

The good news for the Rockies was an MRI exam Friday confirmed their diagnosis of a sprained medial collateral ligament in the middle finger. The bad news was that Gonzalez has been told not to swing a bat until the sprain -- which is defined as a slight tear -- heals. Considering he sustained the injury July 7 and played until last Sunday, there is no timetable on when healing will occur.

"Oh, man," Gonzalez said. "Nobody swings the bat more than me. That's what I love doing in this game. Even in the offseason, I can't sit at home all day, every day, and not swing the bat. I don't care if I'm not running or getting ready for baseball activities. I like to swing the bat.

"This is one of the hardest things for me. I think my honeymoon last year was the last time I didn't swing a bat. But when I'm at home, I always have a bat in my hand. I'm always swinging. I even go to the cage and take some hacks."

Gonzalez is due to come off the 15-day disabled list Aug. 20, but it is anyone's guess if he will be cleared to swing by then. At one point, Gonzalez feared it might be two weeks before swinging the bat, but he talked to head athletic trainer Keith Dugger and is ready to let pain be his guide.

"They don't want to put a time on it," Gonzalez said. "Right now we just want to let it heal. But you know the way I am. I want to be in there right now. But as soon as I feel good enough to be there, I will. I've been doing everything else except hitting -- running, lifting, all the stuff I normally do when I'm playing."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb.
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