DENVER (AP) Carlos Gonzalez's left index finger is getting stronger and stronger each day. So are his identical twin daughters who were born premature.
The Colorado Rockies' All-Star outfielder proudly reported the newest additions to his family are ''doing really good'' as he reclined in his chair Saturday before his team played Milwaukee.
Gonzalez had surgery on June 10 to remove a small tumor in his finger. Three days later, his daughters, Carlota and Genova, were born.
But at just 30 weeks old, they need to stay in the hospital a little while longer to develop. Gonzalez thinks it might be six more weeks before they can go home.
''But they're really good, breathing by themselves,'' Gonzalez said. ''They just have to get bigger.''
The proud papa pulled out his cellphone and showed off a photo - of his repaired hand. He has a line of stitches that begins at his finger and snakes all the way to the middle of his hand.
For as tender as the wound still looks, though, Gonzalez insisted the finger hasn't felt this good in quite a while. He's hoping to get the 20 or so stitches removed sometime next week and begin hand exercises right away.
''I know I still have a long way to go,'' said Gonzalez, who's been on the disabled list since June 4. ''But at least (the tumor) is out of my finger and I'll be doing exercises soon. I'm excited.
''It's good news - getting closer.''
Gonzalez had been experiencing soreness and swelling in the finger for a while. He was examined by Dr. Thomas Graham on May 29 in Cleveland and then later underwent exploratory surgery, which detected a growth beneath the sheath around the muscle.
''It's out of there, so I can't wait to get on the field to start swinging the bat,'' Gonzalez said.
He's surprised at how fast his hand is healing.
''They cleaned my finger and touched around the area where it was hurting and there was no pain,'' said Gonzalez, who's hitting .255 with eight homers this season. ''The stitches, of course, a little swelling from the surgery. But I feel good.''
He's just hoping the Rockies can stay in contention until he gets back - whenever that may be. The Rockies have a rather crowded DL at the moment, with reigning NL batting champion Michael Cuddyer (fractured left shoulder), Gold Glove third baseman Nolan Arenado (broken left finger) and an array of starting pitchers also out of action.
''We have enough talent,'' Gonzalez said. ''It's just a matter of finding a way to win games.''