Shortstop Alex Gonzalez has committed only one error in 158 total chances. He leads all National League shortstops (with a minimum of 100 total chances) with a .994 fielding percentage. He is second in assists with 116. He is fifth in double plays turned, with 23.
And he was on the bench Tuesday night -- and probably Wednesday and possibly Thursday -- with a left groin strain. That isn't just a problem at shortstop -- it also affects second baseman Dan Uggla. It's Gonzalez's positioning and precise feeds that have helped keep Uggla's error total to two.
Gonzalez started feeling something early in Sunday's game against the Phillies, and manager Fredi Gonzalez took him out late in the game as a precaution.
"Hopefully we got him out of the game early enough that it's not going to be long term," Gonzalez said Tuesday. "The plan was to give him yesterday off and then today off, see where he's at today. I'm going into tomorrow waiting for tomorrow.
"Today, definitely, we won't use him unless we absolutely need a guy in the 11th inning to pinch-hit, then use a pitcher to pinch run for him. But we'll try to stay away from him. I think, definitely, the weekend."
The other Gonzalez, Alex, is thinking Thursday.
He has played with this injury before, on turf in Toronto last season. And he hit Tuesday in batting practice.
"It's not anything to worry about," he says. "I know how to manage it. Play hard, play smart."
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