SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Ian Desmond, with his right hand, is able to drive slowly around the Colorado Rockies spring training complex in a golf cart and watch teammates practice. That’s what he did Friday afternoon before the Rockies left camp to play the San Francisco Giants.
The left hand, however, is wrapped like a club. Desmond, who was set to be the Rockies’ opening day first baseman, broke a bone in the hand when he was hit by a pitch in a spring training game last Sunday. He’s since had surgery.
Desmond spoke to reporters about the injury for the first time Friday. He seemed upbeat despite the prognosis of at least four to six weeks until he returns.
“It’s not frustrating at all,” Desmond said. “It’s part of baseball. I’ve been really fortunate over my career to avoid things like this. Who am I to think that I’m above getting hurt? Why not me, I guess.”
Desmond said he knew something was wrong when trainers took him out of the game. He’d been hit in the hand before, but this one felt different.
The fracture was diagnosed, surgery was ordered and completed and Desmond is back with the Rockies, with whom he signed a $70 million, five-year contract in the offseason. He’s played shortstop and outfield over the past few seasons, but the Rockies wanted him at first base.
Now Mark Reynolds is in line for the starting job until Desmond returns.
“I still have a job to do here, and that’s be a good teammate, take care of my body, try to get to know guys,” Desmond said. “That was probably objective No. 1 coming into spring training, was to try to get to know my teammates that I’m going on the field with every day. That’s still on the top of the list.”
Desmond said the move to a new position had been going well. He’s been watching other first baseman, including Reynolds, and learning through observation as well as working on the field.
He said he also watched the Chicago Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo from the dugout when the Rockies played the Cubs, and the Kansas City Royals’ Eric Hosmer on TV in the World Baseball Classic.
Rockies manager Bud Black said Desmond went right to work at first base after he signed with the club.
“He was making great progress, to the point where we weren’t concerned at all about his ability to handle the position defensively,” Black said. “Once he gets back and gets more reps, he’ll get more comfortable.”
Desmond simplified thing when asked about the timetable for his return.
“I’m not a doctor. I’m just a first baseman who got drilled trying to get back as fast as I can,” he said. “Whenever they say I’m ready, I’ll be ready.”
NOTES: The Rockies optioned right-handed pitchers Shane Carle, Rayan González and Zach Jemiola to Triple-A. Gonzalez is likely to need surgery on a torn elbow ligament in his pitching arm, Black said. ... OF David Dahl was scheduled for an MRI on his injured rib Friday. Black said Dahl is on track to increase his activity soon, pending test results.