Although we’re only three weeks into the season, it’s nonetheless discouraging that Rockies first baseman/outfielder Ian Desmond is off to a horrific start after such a disappointing 2017. Desmond, whom the Rockies signed to a five-year, $70MM deal in December 2016, has batted an unsightly .153/.184/.333 and posted minus-0.5 fWAR over 76 plate appearances this month. The 32-year-old’s not panicking, however. “Even though it’s bad right now, I know (my process) works, I know it’s worked in the past, and I believe it,” said Desmond (via Kyle Newman of the Denver Post) “When you’re going through something like this right now is when you really have to believe it, because you can really get sideways if you don’t.” Desmond has the support of manager Bud Black, who stated that “He’ll find his timing, and when he does, he’ll be the Ian Desmond that we’ve seen for eight-plus seasons.” While Desmond has recorded an unappealing 73.1 percent groundball rate this season on the heels of logging a 62.7 percent figure last year, he’s not necessarily aiming to hit more balls in the air. “Looking at it throughout the course of my career, I’m a groundball hitter, I’m a line drive hitter — I don’t think I’m ever going to lead the league in launch angle,” said Desmond, even though he acknowledged that the altitude at Coors Field makes it an especially friendly place for fly ball hitters.
Here’s more from the NL West:
- Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner told reporters Saturday that he still hasn’t swung a bat since suffering a broken left wrist in late March (via Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, on Twitter). As such, there’s still no timetable for Turner’s return, which is unfortunate for an LA team that has felt his absence during a slow start. Dodgers third basemen have only managed a .208/.274/.338 line in 84 PAs this season.
- Prior to their game Saturday, the Padres activated center fielder Manuel Margot from the disabled list and sent right fielder Hunter Renfroe to the DL (retroactive to April 18) with elbow inflammation. Margot, who suffered bruised ribs when he took a pitch to the chest, returned quickly after going on the DL on April 11. Renfroe, meanwhile, “played with one arm for about a week and a half,” manager Andy Green told Justin Toscano of MLB.com and other reporters Saturday. The 26-year-old power hitter got off to a .200/.281/.440 start with two home runs in 57 PAs before going on the shelf.
- The Giants expect left-handed reliever Will Smith back by May 1, manager Bruce Bochy announced Saturday (per Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group, via Twitter). Smith underwent Tommy John surgery prior to last season, meaning he hasn’t pitched in a major league game since the Giants’ NLDS loss to the Cubs in October 2016. The 28-year-old was a well-regarded reliever before his injury, which led the Giants to trade a couple of prospects to Milwaukee for him in August 2016.