PHOENIX -- The Rockies decided to trade one day of having left fielder Carlos Gonzalez for the possibility that his sore upper back will heal with a day of rest.
Gonzalez sustained a strain to one of the muscles that stabilize the left shoulder blade during Thursday night's 9-5 victory over the Dodgers. Gonzalez left the game chasing a low-and-outside pitch, and head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said he believes the issue started earlier in the game on a head-first slide to home plate.
Gonzalez said Thursday night that he expected to play Friday night in the opener of a three-game set against the National League West-leading D-backs, with the Rockies in second place, 2 1/2 games off the pace. However, manager Walt Weiss, who has been careful with his star players this season, didn't put Gonzalez in the starting lineup. Gonzalez was available to pinch-hit, however.
"It's just a little sore from yesterday, but I feel better than yesterday and that's a good sign," said Gonzalez, who took batting practice Friday. "It happens to me every single Spring Training, early when we start playing. But it takes, like, a couple days to feel normal again, sometimes a week. But I can definitely play through it."
Gonzalez is dealing with the pain at the beginning of a 10-game road trip against the D-backs, Padres and Dodgers -- all hoping to gain traction in the NL West. The Rockies also have two key players on the disabled list, center fielder Dexter Fowler (right hand) and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (broken rib). Still, the Rockies chose to be cautious with Gonzalez.
"That's the last thing that I want to happen, be out of the lineup when we have two important players out," Gonzalez said. "I want to do everything to stay in the lineup. But it's good to sit today, take a breather and make it better."
Gonzalez said the injury caused pain when he threw, as well as when he swung the bat.
Corey Dickerson started in left field and Tyler Colvin played center Friday night.
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.