Carlos Gonzalez to rest sprained finger for a few days

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Carlos Gonzalez is expected to avoid the disabled list, but he will give his sprained finger some time off after exiting Wednesday’s game with the injury, the Denver Post’s Troy Renck reports.

Gonzalez has been dealing with a sprained left middle finger for weeks and opted out of the Home Run Derby because of it. He tried resting it for four days last week, and he went 5-for-5 after returning to Colorado’s lineup on Monday. However, it wasn’t enough to take care of the injury once and for all.

Gonzalez leads the NL with a .965 OPS this year, and he was on top in homers, too, before the finger injury became a bigger factor. He has just one since the All-Star break, and Domonic Brown has overtaken him for the NL lead, 27-26.

When Gonzalez stole two bases on Monday, it gave him his fourth straight 20 HR-20 SB season. The only active players with more career 20-20 seasons are Carlos Beltran (seven), Alex Rodriguez (six) and Hanley Ramirez (five). Jimmy Rollins and Alfonso Soriano also have four apiece.

Martin Maldonado and Willson Contreras say they’re willing to pay fines rather than follow new mound visit rule

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On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.

Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.

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Update (4:43 PM ET): In response to this, Manfred said that if a catcher or coach made a seventh mound visit, there would have to be a pitching change (via Fletcher). However, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said (via SB Nation’s Eric Stephen) that the seventh visit cannot trigger a pitching change. The umpire would simply have to prevent the seventh mound visit.