Colorado Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez during stretching prior to a baseball game in San Diego, Wednesday, July 10, 2013.
Colorado Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez during stretching prior to a baseball game in San Diego, Wednesday, July 10, 2013. (Lenny Ignelzi, Associated Press)

LOS ANGELES — Few players in baseball, and nobody else on the Rockies' roster, plays to the spotlight like Carlos Gonzalez.

His graceful stride in left field, the laser throws to the infield, that elegant swing and the long poses at the plate after tape-measure homers — they're all part of CarGo's game.

And lest we forget: "Hey, hey, I've got your tacos right here."

But CarGo is an intense competitor, and sometimes that gets lost behind the flash. With Troy Tulowitzki and Dexter Fowler back in the lineup Thursday night at Dodger Stadium after recovering from injuries, Gonzalez believes the Rockies can win the National League West. He thinks they should start winning — right now.

That's why he informed Major League Baseball that he was withdrawing from the Home Run Derby on Monday night at Citi Field in New York. CarGo, who along with Tulo was voted in as a National League starter, still plans to play in Tuesday night's All-Star Game.

"Everybody understands I love to compete and would love to represent the Rockies in the Home Run Derby," said Gonzalez, hitting .307 with 25 home runs and 64 RBIs after going 3-for-4 with a rocket solo homer Thursday night against the Dodgers. "But my finger is not feeling 100 percent, so I think what's more important right now is my health and being in the Rockies' lineup every day."

Gonzalez injured the middle finger on his right hand Sunday in his third at-bat of the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, forcing him to miss two games.


"It was my suggestion, and we discussed it. I told him that finger was going to be sore for quite a while," Rockies trainer Keith Dugger said. "It's an honor to be selected to the derby, and CarGo knows that. But it's important for him to play in the (All-Star Game) and to be healthy for the Rockies."

Manager Walt Weiss suggested that Gonzalez wait a couple of days to make his decision, but the outfielder had already made up his mind.

CarGo added he was fearful that repeated hard swings in the derby could aggravate his sore finger. Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer is scheduled to hit in the derby. "I will be rooting for my guy, Cuddy, and I will be playing in the All-Star Game," Gonzalez said. "I'm really looking forward to it."

Gonzalez will be replaced in the Home Run Derby by Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who has 23 home runs and is hitting .250.