DENVER -- Rockies outfielder David Dahl, on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Albuquerque for a rib injury that has kept him out of the Majors all season, feels like he is on a faster-than-expected track back to Denver."I feel better than I thought I would," Dahl said Tuesday by phone
DENVER -- Rockies outfielder David Dahl, on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Albuquerque for a rib injury that has kept him out of the Majors all season, feels like he is on a faster-than-expected track back to Denver.
"I feel better than I thought I would," Dahl said Tuesday by phone from Albuquerque, where he was scheduled to start the first game of a doubleheader against Tacoma. "I'm seeing the ball pretty well. But I'm still a tick late on fastballs and kind of off anticipating how breaking balls are going to break. I can see the spin, but where it's going to end up is something I'm working on getting back fully.
"I'm getting my legs under me while getting back to playing every single day. It's fun to be back out there playing every day."
The 23-year-old Dahl, who hit .315 with seven homers and 24 RBIs in 63 games as a rookie last season, sustained a stress reaction in his sixth rib early in Spring Training.
Dahl began a maximum 20-day rehab assignment last Wednesday, the first two games at Class A Advanced Lancaster and four more (entering Tuesday) at Albuquerque. Six games into what amounts to an accelerated Spring Training, he was hitting .333 (7-for-21) with a home run, eight RBIs and a triple, and he had played all three outfield positions.
Depending on the Rockies' needs, they could recall Dahl from the assignment early or when the 20-day clock expires. If he isn't ready or if there isn't a roster spot, Colorado could option him to Albuquerque and then recall him when (or before) the rosters expand to 40 on Sept. 1.
What's difficult is determining how much time a player who didn't have a true Spring Training needs. Dahl said he can't compare it to a normal Spring Training because the pace is different. He was playing the full nine innings in his fourth rehab game. That would occur much later in a regular spring.
Manager Bud Black said there is no predetermined number of at-bats before Dahl will be considered for a return. Dahl said he is just focusing on being ready when the call comes.
"I'm really excited for when I can come back, but right now I'm focused on where I am every day here, getting my at-bats and putting the work in," Dahl said. "I'm not looking ahead."
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and** like his Facebook page**.