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Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez returns from finger injury that sidelined him for 35 games

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DENVER - Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez was activated from the disabled list on Friday after he missed 35 games because of left index finger inflammation.

To make roster room for Gonzalez, who was in the starting lineup Friday night against Minnesota, the Rockies optioned right-handed pitcher Jair Jurrjens to their Triple-A affiliate in Colorado Springs.

Gonzalez, sidelined since June 3, underwent finger surgery a week later after doctors discovered a benign tumour.

"He has some peace of mind with that finger," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "The first part of the season, that finger was blowing up. For no rhyme or reason. All of a sudden, in the middle of the game, he would make solid contact or hit the ball off the end of the bat, that finger would swell up. It was obviously an issue going on."

Before rejoining the Rockies, Gonzalez made four rehab appearances with Colorado Springs this week.

"I'm feeling good," Gonzalez said before the game. "I'm happy being back in the lineup. I took my time. It's a slow process. I was careful after the surgery. It paid off."

The time off also helped alleviate lingering soreness from left knee tendinitis that had bothered him for much of the season. Gonzalez was batting .255 in 52 games. He entered this season with a career average of .300.

"The time off has certainly helped his knee," Weiss said. "It is something that has hindered him from time to time. The time off is going to help that."

Gonzalez, who usually plays left field, was slated to start in right field and bat third.

"We'll see what he can do," Weiss said.

Jurrjens was 0-1 with a 10.61 ERA in two starts for the Rockies.

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