Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, whose sweet swing was soured by a string of injuries this year, resigned himself Thursday to an early end of his season because of a nagging knee ailment.
"The whole year has been a fight," Gonzalez said before the Rockies game against the Cincinnati Reds. "I don't think it can get any worse than this."
The Rockies, after consulting with Gonzalez and several doctors, decided their star slugger needs season-ending surgery to repair a left patella tendon tear. He'll undergo the surgery Monday in Frisco.
Gonzalez has suffered through knee tendinitis since last season, and an MRI on Wednesday showed his injury grew worse in recent weeks, according to Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger.
The news on Gonzalez comes a day after the Rockies learned all-star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will need season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip.
"Everyone felt like that might be the case, that we might not have them for the rest of the season," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "And unfortunately, that's what it's gonna be."
Gonzalez and Tulowitzki combine for 29 percent of the Rockies' $93.5 million payroll in 2014. In 2015, with built-in salary bumps, their $27 million combined salary obligation jumps to $36.5 million.
Gonzalez, 28, played in just 70 games this season, hitting .238 with a .292 on-base percentage and 11 home runs, far below his career numbers.
"I still have that fire, that passion," Gonzalez said. "But it's limited. I show up the first game and go 3-for-5 with a home run, and I extend a single into a double. And then the next day, I feel like I got hit by a bus."
The Gold Glove-winning outfielder has been bothered by numerous injuries this season. He played through a left ankle sprain suffered after sliding into the outfield wall in Detroit to make a catch two weeks ago. And he needed surgery to remove a tumor in his left index finger in June.
"It's hard to play that way, when you go out there and feel like, 'I can't move today. I just hope nobody hits the ball where I'm playing right now,' " he said. "When your body gets stressed, your mental part gets affected too.
"Instead of thinking about the way they're pitching me or if the ball is hit to me, I'm gonna throw it this way. All I was thinking was, 'My knee hurts; I don't feel good.' The mental stress is big."
There has been stress at home too, with the premature birth of twin girls June 13. His wife, Indonesia, delivered after only 30 weeks. She and the girls returned home from a hospital last Friday.
Gonzalez won the National League batting title in 2010 with a .336 average. He also hit 36 home runs that year. But this season, he has 70 strikeouts and just 19 walks.
The Rockies struggle without Gonzalez and Tulowitzki. With both players in the starting lineup this season, they are 28-27. Without them, the Rockies are 19-47.
Gonzalez on Thursday met with Dr. Thomas Hackett of Frisco, along with Rockies medical director Dr. Thomas J. Noonan, Rockies rehab coordinator Scott Murayama and Dugger.
"The worst has already happened," Gonzalez said. "I gotta get right and be the same guy I was before."
The Rockies have played less than half their games this season with stars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez in the lineup together. And since 2009, the team fares significantly worse with both of them out:
|With Tulo, CarGo in starting lineup||55||28-27||.509|
|Without Tulo, CarGo in starting lineup||66||19-47||.288|
|With Tulo, CarGo in starting lineup||453||238-215||.525|
|Without Tulo, CarGo in starting lineup||478||195-283||.408|
Nick Groke: firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/nickgroke