Rockies outfielder expects swift return after X-rays are clear
DENVER -- Before Carlos Gonzalez belted his sixth home run of the season in the first inning on Thursday night, a foul ball dealt him what was later diagnosed as a left index finger contusion.
Gonzalez was replaced with pinch-hitter Brandon Barnes in the fourth inning of the Rockies' eventual 7-4 victory over the Mets, but neither he nor the Rockies believe the injury to be serious. The finger was still swollen by game's end, but it had already improved.
Gonzalez suffered a ligament strain of his right middle finger last July, and it severely curtailed his playing time and effectiveness. Thursday's injury, he said, was nothing like that.
The Rockies announced that his availability would be assessed day to day, but manager Walt Weiss doesn't think the outfielder will be out of the lineup for long.
"It's just, when you get jammed, it hurts really bad," Gonzalez said. "But it's something that will go away, not like last year. Last year was a ligament. That was a tough one, when you have to play with a bad finger like that. This one, it happens."
The home run, off Mets starter Bartolo Colon with two out in the first inning, was Gonzalez's second in the last two games -- after he had gone homerless since April 11. But the finger was already becoming a problem.
"I hit [the foul ball] off the end of the bat, and the finger got really fat after I hit the home run," Gonzalez said. "I tried to stay in the game and it kept getting worse and worse. But they did an X-ray and it was negative, just a bruise and inflammation.
"I felt the pain, but it was not swelling or anything. Then I hit the home run and went to left field. I started to play catch, then my finger was getting fatter and fatter. The second at-bat [a double-play grounder in the third], it was getting worse and worse."
Gonzalez has been trying to climb out of a slump. He left the game with a .245 batting average.