DENVER -- Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez has offered some baseball-related holiday cheer on social media.
In posts Tuesday on Instagram and Wednesday on Facebook, Gonzalez announced that he has finally been allowed to practice hitting for the first time since undergoing surgery in August to repair the patella tendon in his left knee. Problems in the knee bothered him for well more than a year before he finally underwent the procedure, performed by Dr. Tom Hackett in Frisco, Colo., on Aug. 18.
This is the happiest baseball news in a long time for Gonzalez, a two-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove Award recipient. The knee operation was his third surgery in a difficult 2014. He had appendicitis in early January. In June, after months of pain and swelling in his left index finger, doctors removed a benign tumor. After recovering and returning to the lineup, however, the problem with his left knee -- which had affected him for much of 2013, a year during which he was dealing with ligament damage in his right middle finger -- worsened.
Add to that the fact that the year was tough off the field for Gonzalez, 29. His wife, Indonesia, endured a difficult pregnancy before the births of twin daughters Carlota and Genova on June 13. The girls spent time in the hospital gaining strength before coming home.
From the start of the 2013 season to the All-Star break, Gonzalez was hitting .302 and leading the National League with 25 home runs in 91 games. In 1 1/2 seasons since, Gonzalez has played in just 89 games, or barely more than a half-season, and has hit just .246 (73-of-297) with 12 homers in 89 games. While the finger issues were debilitating in their own right, the knee pain prevented him from balancing on the left leg, which in turn has robbed him of power.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.