Colorado Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu is making strides toward a return, giving indications that his oblique injury is not as severe as originally feared.
LeMahieu was placed on the 10-day disabled list on July 21 with a left oblique strain. It is the third stint on the disabled list of the season for the Colorado Rockies All-Star, marking the first time in his career he has spent any time on the DL.
In a meeting with media members before the Rockies met the Oakland A’s in the second game of their three-game series at Coors Field, Colorado manager Bud Black indicated that LeMahieu was not going to miss an extended period of time.
"“DJ is progressing,” Black told Rox Pile when we was asked him about LeMahieu on Saturday afternoon. “No timetable. I know the training staff and DJ are both encouraged here in the relatively short term of what has happened over the last four or five days, some of the movement he’s been able to do and some of the strengthening exercises that have begun.“Like we initially thought, this doesn’t look like a six- to eight-week oblique scare, which some are. On the scale, this was a mild one.”"
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LeMahieu was seen throwing and running in Colorado’s pre-game routine on Saturday afternoon. He paced Major League Baseball with a .348 average in 2016 and earned his second All-Star appearance and Gold Glove last season while hitting .310/.374/.409.
This season, LeMahieu is hitting .278 with eight home runs and 34 RBI in 302 at-bats. Settling into the leadoff role with Charlie Blackmon moved to second in the lineup, the 30-year-old LeMahieu was hitting .321/.355/.429 in his last seven games before being shelved.
Garrett Hampson received his first-ever call-up to take LeMahieu’s place at second base and has taken the majority of at-bats in his absence. He is hitting .250/.368/.438 in 16 at-bats since making his Major League debut on July 21.
Pat Valaika has also drawn a couple of starts in LeMahieu’s absence, including Saturday night’s tilt against Oakland. However, he has struggled this season heading into Saturday’s start, hitting just .137 with four doubles, a home run and a pair of RBI.