Carlos Gonzalez cleared for live batting practice

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Via beat writer Thomas Harding of MLB.com

Left fielder Carlos Gonzalez will take batting practice on the field Thursday and is pushing toward an injury rehab assignment after recovering from surgery to remove a tumor from his left index finger.

Rockies trainer Keith Dugger guessed on June 11 that CarGo would be out five weeks, so he’s right on schedule. The 28-year-old was batting just .255 with a .756 OPS before the surgery, but that relative lack of production can be blamed on the tumor in his finger, which had been bothering him for much of 2014.

Gonzalez hit .302/.367/.591 with 26 home runs, 70 RBI, and 21 stolen bases in 110 games last year.

When he returns, the Rockies’ starting outfield will likely be Gonzalez in left, Charlie Blackmon in center, and Corey Dickerson in right. Michael Cuddyer is out until August with a major shoulder injury.

Video: Cole Tucker’s first MLB hit is two-run homer

Cole Tucker
AP Photo
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Pirates prospect shortstop Cole Tucker stepped up for an injured Erik González on Saturday and wasted little time proving that he was ready to shoulder major-league responsibilities. After starting the game 0-for-2, Tucker pounced on Derek Holland‘s 2-2 sinker and sent it out to center field for a two-run shot in the fifth inning.

Following the tie-breaking blast, Tucker responded to cheers from the crowd with… perhaps a little more ceremony than the occasion required. He was the second of the Pirates’ prospects to record his first major-league hit during the game, as outfielder Bryan Reynolds also hit a single off of Holland in the fourth.

Jung Ho Kang struck out to end the inning, after which a rain delay was called. The Pirates currently lead the Giants 3-1.