DENVER -- Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez hopes he can be golden once again.
Gonzalez is sitting out with a sprained right middle finger, and is unlikely to swing a bat by season's end. But he made 106 appearances in left field, was tied with the Nationals' Bryce Harper among National League left fielders with 11 assists going into Saturday's play and had several highlight-worthy plays.
Even with his current lack of activity (he went on the disabled list in early August, after playing for a month compromised by pain, and has been used as a defensive replacement this month), Gonzalez hopes he put together a good enough defensive resume to earn his third Rawlings Gold Glove Award.
Gonzalez won it in 2010, when it was an outfield award without regard to position, and last season as a left fielder. Gonzalez and many others around the Rockies felt he deserved it in 2011, but he bounced among the three positions and didn't play enough at one to receive enough votes.
"I think I have a chance," Gonzalez said. "I was leading the league in assists when I got hurt. That's the point -- your presence. The guys who choose Gold Glove, the managers and coaches, the guys who see you play every day. The third-base coach is always aware, telling runners, 'Don't run on this guy.'
"I played over 100 games in left. The year I didn't win a Gold Glove, you have to play at least 80 games in one position and I split my 140 games. But I have a chance this year."
In the range factor stat, Gonzalez ranks behind former teammate Eric Young Jr., who was traded to the Mets, and Alfonso Soriano during his time with the Cubs before he was sent to the Yankees. Neither is regarded anywhere close to Gonzalez's caliber. Only the Cardinals' Matt Holliday ranks higher in fielding percentage, .995, but Holliday's range is nowhere near Gonzalez's. Harper is tied in assists, but isn't anywhere near Gonzalez in range ratings and has a .966 fielding percentage.
Gonzalez took a cortisone shot earlier this week in hopes that his injury will heal without surgery. He said it will take several days to take effect, then he'll test it hitting off a tee. He would like to swing the bat in games, and if that doesn't happen before the regular season ends, he'll go to instructional ball in Scottsdale, Ariz. If the cortisone shot still doesn't stop the pain, he'll undergo surgery.
If there is an operation, he wants it before Nov. 1 so he can heal and rehab in time for Spring Training 2014.
Even if he does not have surgery, don't look for Gonzalez to play winter ball in Venezuela. It's an annual issue in his native country, but he said the Rockies do not want him playing and he'll abide by those wishes.
"I don't think it's possible because it's not on me," Gonzalez said. "If it's on me, I would like to go there and play. But the team asks me not to, and I have to go with them, because my biggest responsibility is here."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Ian McCue is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less