Gonzalez sheds crutches, works out
After being cleared, shortstop takes swings in cage, plays catch
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Injured shortstop Alex Gonzalez got some good news on Saturday.

Gonzalez, who has missed almost all of Spring Training with a compression fracture in his left knee, was allowed early in the day to shed his crutches. He was cleared to begin light workouts, including throwing and hitting in the cage, after being re-examined in the morning by Reds medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek.

It didn't take long for Gonzalez to get started. Moments after he was cleared, he was hitting the batting cage and later played catch on a practice field. The 31-year-old was still wearing a brace on his left knee. Later he admitted he did not know how long it would take for him to return.

"I can't tell you. I don't feel 100 percent," Gonzalez said. "I have to make sure everything is OK. I want to play hard and at 100 percent. I don't want to play at 90 percent. I want to make sure it's pain free to help the team."

With one week remaining until camp breaks, it is unlikely Gonzalez will be able to get ready in time to open the regular season on March 31. However, the plan is for him to go north to Cincinnati when camp breaks, and not stick around for extended Spring Training.

"I feel much better every day," Gonzalez said. "[But] I feel a little pain. As soon as the thing is pain free, maybe I'll go down to Triple-A, I don't know. I'll get ready as soon as possible and get back to the team."

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It doesn't sound like he will be ready to play Opening Day, but he might very well be on the roster. He will need some rehab time, however.