8/9/2014 8:38 P.M. ET
CarGo hampered by lingering knee problems
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- The usually affable Carlos Gonzalez's mood was dragged down by his left knee, the way his game has been way too often this season.
Gonzalez was lifted after striking out in each of his three at-bats during Friday night's 5-3 loss to the D-backs, and he was not in the lineup again Saturday night. The Rockies' explanation was Gonzalez didn't feel well, and Gonzalez said the knee was the center of the issue.
"I was having a bad day during batting practice," Gonzalez said. "It's tendinitis. I'm tired of talking about it. My body was beat up. My knee was beat up. Then they decided that was it."
Gonzalez missed a month after having a benign tumor removed from his left index finger, but the tendinitis had bothered him from the start of the year to when he was shelved in early June. Gonzalez reported that the knee felt better when he returned, but it hasn't felt good consistently.
Gonzalez has said several times he wants to continue playing, and the Rockies don't believe Gonzalez is at the point where he needs to be shut down. However, there is an argument for resting, even if it means ending the season early, and going to a procedure such as stem-cell therapy to prepare for next season. But the desires of Gonzalez and the Rockies to finish strong are ruling at this point.
Such decisions are difficult when it comes to an injury like Gonzaelz's. It's not a broken bone or a muscle tear, which require a player being shut down. Knee tendinitis is one that players and clubs often feel can be manageable if they don't put the player at risk for further physical damage. Manager Walt Weiss said the Rockies will "evaluate him day to day" based on whether he is at risk of causing further damage to the knee.
However this injury is to Gonzalez's load leg, and it's limiting his effectiveness. A player who has made two All-Star Game appearances and won a batting title is hitting .238 with 11 home runs and 38 RBIs in 70 games. Since his return to the lineup on July 11, he has hit .188 with three home runs, seven RBIs and 25 strikeouts in 64 at-bats.
But Gonzalez and the Rockies believe he'll feel better and play better.
"I think it's important for every player to finish strong," Weiss said. "It's important for their psyche. It's important for their confidence. It's important going into the offseason for every individual and for our club. That's what you have to gain, by going out there, performing well and finishing strong. People tend to remember how you finish and forget how you started."
Weiss calls brief team meeting to regain focus
PHOENIX -- Believing the focus is slipping as the losses accumulate, Rockies manager Walt Weiss called a brief team meeting before Saturday night's game against the D-backs.
Catcher Michael McKenry illustrated the Rockies' lack of attention to detail Friday night when he made a lob throw back to the mound that allowed the D-backs' David Peralta to steal home during a 5-3 defeat. But the Rockies entered Saturday night with 10 losses in the last 12 games, plus 19 in 21 road games. Weiss said Saturday's talk went beyond a specific play.
Weiss noted that he is in front of the club during the scouting meeting before the first game of every series, and usually attempts to give motivational or correction points to the club during those sessions, so it's not as if he's never in front of the entire team.
"Every once in a while, I listen to my gut and say it's time to get them together for the sake of delivering a message," Weiss said.
Weiss has repeatedly praised the club's effort this season, and said effort isn't the problem. Weiss' belief is echoed privately by several players and others familiar with the club. The pitching has been affected by injury and backup position players have been exposed because they've been forced to play more than planned.
The second part -- play the game right -- has been an issue, especially lately. Weiss didn't give any specifics, but the indication was focus was the focus of his words. Awareness in various situations can show up in many ways, such as situational at-bats or pitching and defensive execution.
"My goal is to always lend some perspective, some things I've learned from being around this game," Weiss said. "It's not that I'm smarter than anybody else. Things I know, I either learned the hard way or I was around smart people and I listened every once in a while, paid attention every once in a while."
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.