Colorado Rockies: Trevor Story and the revolving door at second base
Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story walked into the Coors Field clubhouse on Saturday afternoon and saw that he would be playing alongside yet another second baseman later that day when the Rockies and Cincinnati Reds continued their weekend series.
Story, who will have started all 52 games at shortstop for the Rockies this season once Saturday night’s encounter with the Reds begins, has Ryan McMahon as his double play partner for Saturday’s game. McMahon was recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Albuquerque as the Rockies sent Pat Valaika back to Triple-A in a move to try to boost the team’s production at second base.
Since DJ LeMahieu first went on the disabled list in late April, four other Rockies have tried to fill the void at second base. Valaika joins Daniel Castro, Tony Wolters and now McMahon as the players Colorado has tried to plug and play at second and bring some pop into the lineup when LeMahieu has been unavailable.
While second base has been a revolving door, Story has been the steadying influence up the middle. With Saturday’s start, he has now played in 103 consecutive games, the fourth-longest streak currently in Major League Baseball.
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For Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black, knowing Story takes the field every game is not only a calming influence but a massive benefit to the lineup.
"“It’s important because it means that we have the best shortstop in our organization out there,” Black said of Story’s consistent presence. “Trevor has great work capacity. He has the physical wherewithal to handle playing every day. There’s a mental strain to go out there every day and play with energy and play with focus. I’ve really been impressed by that, as much as his statistical performance. That’s hard to do.”"
And what about Story having yet another second baseman to work with on double plays and defense?
"“It’s probably tougher on me than it is him,” Black smiled."
Story actually agreed. In an exclusive interview with Rox Pile, Story said there was little concern for him to learn the nuances of another double play partner. The 25-year-old shortstop credited plenty of practice for defusing any potential problems.
"“Maybe a little bit but I’m pretty familiar with all of these guys,” Story said. “Just from working early in spring training. We also get a lot of that done in BP (batting practice).”"
Having the Rockies move into a shift can also cause some different communication issues with a new second baseman. Even the most well-intended shift can still be beaten, as shown by Jon Gray’s first-inning struggles on Friday night.
"“It’s definitely a little different. When you’re in the shift, you really just try to use your instincts,” Story said. “For me, I just try to rely on my instincts and be as athletic as I can.”"
That athleticism pays off for Story and the Rockies, as does Story’s durability. It’s important more than ever while Colorado tries to find the answer at second base until LeMahieu’s return from a small fracture and sprain in his left thumb.
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And when will that be? Black played that close to the vest on Saturday, saying that there was not a timetable for the All-Star second baseman’s return. LeMahieu, however, did take some swings in the batting cage prior to Saturday’s game.