The Rockies welcomed Ian Desmond back into their lineup over the weekend, and while there’d been hope that he’d quickly be followed by outfielder David Dahl, that no longer seems likely. In an appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM earlier this morning (Twitter link), Colorado skipper Bud Black said that Black is “still a ways away” and isn’t able to show “100 percent exertion on the swing.”
Dahl has been working his way back from a stress reaction in his ribcage — an injury he suffered very early in Spring Training — but has yet to progress to the point where he’s embarked on a minor league rehab assignment. As Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes, Dahl said over the weekend that his swing during a Friday batting practice session was “a little bit shaky,” and the 23-year-old took a day off from swinging the following day.
Black notes that Dahl will be back in the Rockies’ outfield mix when he is eventually healthy enough to return, but there’s no defined timetable for when that might be. Whenever that date arrives, Dahl will be fighting for at-bats in what has become a crowded outfield scene in Denver. While Desmond was originally signed to be the team’s primary first baseman, he started in left field on Sunday and will see some time in the outfield as a means of keeping hot-hitting Mark Reynolds’ bat in the lineup (primarily against lefties). Gerardo Parra, Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez are all also in line for regular time in the outfield, and like Dahl, each of that trio is a left-handed hitter.
It’s not immediately clear how Dahl will fit into the puzzle upon his activation — other injuries or downturns in productivity may well factor into that decision — the 23-year-old should figure prominently into the Rockies’ plans once he returns to health. Dahl burst onto the scene with a .315/.359/.500 batting line through 237 plate appearances as a rookie last year, and though his .404 BABIP is clearly unsustainable, his blend of power, speed and solid defense should make him a mainstay in the Colorado outfield for the next several years.