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Alex Gonzalez injured: What does this mean for the Sox?

Alex Gonzalez left Friday night's game after getting hit on the hand with a pitch. Preliminary X-rays were inconclusive, meaning Gonzo had to have more X-rays today, but there's no word on how those went:

Gonzalez wore a bandage over ice on his right (throwing) hand. He can move his hand and squeeze without pain, but when team medical staff touched the spot where Gonzalez was hit, between the base of the pinkie and the top of the wrist, it hurt.

"I don't feel any pain," Gonzalez said. "I feel good. I can move my fingers and hand, my wrist. But we'll find out tomorrow. I hope there's nothing big. I can use my hand, and I can squeeze."

When Gonzalez had the X-rays, he said team doctors saw a line where the ball hit him, which was inconclusive. The line could be a fracture, but it also could be something minor, like a burst blood vessel.

Sure, it sounds great by what Gonzo tells us, but that's every major leaguer. How often do you hear a guy say this?: "Yeah, it hurts a lot. I won't be able to play. I'm done. Someone buy my ticket for the Dominican now. I'll get an early start on my offseason."

If Gonzo is hurt, what's this mean for the Sox?

I think we have two types of people in this world -- and when I say "this world," I mean "Over The Monster." You're either a Gonzo guy or a Jed guy. But it doesn't really matter which side of the fence you're on, because the Sox's starting shortstop since August -- that'd be Gonzo -- has been pretty darn good considering what we all expected to get:

2009 - Alex Gonzalez 43 144 25 41 10 0 4 14 5 29 2 0 .285 .318 .438

It's nothing amazing, but it is Alex Gonzalez. I think we'll all take it.

But now what do the Sox have? This is a hand injury, so we have no idea how Gonzo will be after all of this. We don't even know if he'll be able to play at all come the postseason. We definitely won't see him this weekend, but it's less than a week until the postseason begins and I think we'd all love to have our starting shortstop there and healthy.

So no Gonzo. That leaves the Sox with options that aren't too pretty.

Jed Lowrie - Geez. Who knows? Lowrie may be more injured than Gonzo, for all we know. But right now we have to trust Jed, Tito & Co. to tell us that he can play baseball. Since he's come off the disabled list, though, we haven't seen much out of him: he's 1 for 6 in 11 games. His average has dipped to .143 on the season. As much as some of us would like to put our faith in Jed (and trust me, I would too) I don't think that is the Sox's best move right now.

Nick Green - Talk about injured, Green hasn't played since Sept. 16. He's been sidelined by a slipped disk and Ian Browne writes Green "didn't show significant improvement when he took ground balls before Thursday's game." Well, it's not like he fielded ground balls too well before either, but still. So here's another hurting shortstop that, no matter what Gonzo's situation is, we probably won't see in the ALDS.

Chris Woodward - Are you kidding me?! Am I really forced to write his name here?! What has this Sox team come to when we even have to discuss Chris Woodward?!

It's all really simple at this point: we need this injury to Gonzo to be nothing. We need a magician to clear up the problem today. I don't care if Gonzo plays this weekend -- no one does, really -- but we need him desperately on Wednesday and from there on out. It's not that the Sox need him because he'll hit 12 home runs in drive in 30 runners, we need him because he is a lot better than our other options.

People talk about a "black hole" at shortstop. If we don't have Gonzo, this will be the blackest of black holes in the history of black holes.

The Red Sox would have to be really good -- or really lucky -- to overcome that in the ALDS.