Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez leaves game after taking pitch to hand

August 15 2016: Colorado Rockies Outfielder, Carlos Gonzalez (5) during a regular season Major League Baseball game between the Colorado Rockies and the visiting Washington Nationals at Coors Field in Denver, CO. (Photo by Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire)
Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire

Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez left Wednesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fourth inning after being hit by a pitch on the hand. Gonzalez attempted to check his swing on a pitch from Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

He was pinch-hit for by Stephen Cardullo, who grounded out to third in his place.

Gonzalez has gotten off to a slow in 2017, entering Wednesday with a .179 batting average and .203 on-base percentage. The slugging left-handed hitter has left the yard just once and has all of 2 RBIs in his first 60 plate appearances, 13 of which have ended in strikeouts.

Named an All-Star for the third time in his career last season, the 31-year-old Gonzalez is playing in 2017 on the final year of his contract. He’ll make $20 million this year, and become a free agent at season’s end.

Despite having spent the past nine seasons playing half of his game at the hitter’s paradise of Coors Field, Gonzalez drove in 100 runs last season for just the second time in his career. The 42 doubles he finished the year with were a new career high. He also reached the 25 home run mark for the fifth time in his career.

There remains reason for optimism that Gonzalez will turn it around for no reason other than he will return to Coors Field eventually. He remains a .329/.389/.617 hitter in the nearly 500 games he has played in his home park. Gonzalez has played for Colorado since his acquisition from the Oakland Athletics prior to the start of the 2009 season.

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