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Bothersome knee remains fickle foe for CarGo

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DENVER -- At-bat to at-bat, Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez can look like an All-Star and former batting champion, or completely out of sync. Gonzalez admitted Sunday morning that sometimes he feels the way he looks.

Tendinitis in his left knee that made its way to public scrutiny when it flared during an April 20 game is an unpredictable issue. It was part of the problem when his batting average dipped to .232 on April 28, but it subsided during a 10-game hit streak April 28-May 3, when he batted .386 with three home runs and six doubles.

Gonzalez went into Sunday afternoon's game against the Padres with a .270 average, seven home runs and 10 RBIs. Lately, some games have been like Saturday's, when he doubled twice and drove in three runs. But he also went 0-for-12 in a three-game set with the Reds last weekend.

Sometimes, how he feels changes during a game.

"It's weird," said Gonzalez, who originally was bothered by his knee when running the bases, but now admits it bothers him sometimes while hitting or playing left field. "It's one of those injuries that you feel good for a couple of days and then you have bad days for a long period and then one day, 'Oh I feel great today. I feel like I can steal a base.' [But] in the sixth or fifth inning, it starts to get irritated and you get the fatigue."

The left leg is the support leg when he kicks with the right to begin his swing. If that leg doesn't feel right, he'll fire quickly and not be able to keep his bat in the hitting zone. But there's always the chance things will come together and he'll drive the ball the opposite way to the left-center gap the way he did Saturday.

The hope that his swing arrives and stays, which is what his track record indicates, is why he occupies a prime spot in the lineup. Recently, manager Walt Weiss has dropped Gonzalez to cleanup and moved Troy Tulowitzki up a spot, so he'll be in line for RBIs when he does turn hot.

"I'm fighting with that, trying to do anything possible to stay in the lineup every day," he said. "I know I'm going to get hot and I'm not going to be talking about this."

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.

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