Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Rockies aim to protect LeMahieu's batting title

MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

SAN FRANCISCO -- A batting title is nice, but Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu would rather that not be the biggest item on his list.

LeMahieu went 1-for-4 in Tuesday night's 12-3 loss to open a three-game series with the Giants at AT&T Park, and has a .349 average, two points ahead of the Nationals' Daniel Murphy. Problem is with Murphy having not started since Sept. 17 and not played since Sept. 20 with a nagging left glute strain, LeMahieu could injure his chances by doing what he likes most -- competing.

Full Game Coverage

SAN FRANCISCO -- A batting title is nice, but Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu would rather that not be the biggest item on his list.

LeMahieu went 1-for-4 in Tuesday night's 12-3 loss to open a three-game series with the Giants at AT&T Park, and has a .349 average, two points ahead of the Nationals' Daniel Murphy. Problem is with Murphy having not started since Sept. 17 and not played since Sept. 20 with a nagging left glute strain, LeMahieu could injure his chances by doing what he likes most -- competing.

Full Game Coverage

So LeMahieu's attention is on the Giants, a team the Rockies have been tough on this year. Tuesday gave the Giants a 9-8 lead in the season series. The Giants' concentration is on clinging to National League Wild Card position, so they don't care about LeMahieu's numbers.

"We've played well against them all year and I hope we can continue that," LeMahieu said. "We're coming off of a rough series in L.A. [a four-game sweep that saw the Dodgers clinch the NL West], so it would be nice to bounce back against these guys.

"I can't worry about the numbers. I'll just try to have good at-bats and see where we are at the end of the year."

Manager Walt Weiss said he is cognizant of LeMahieu's possibility and will do what he can to protect it. In 2014, he pulled Justin Morneau after the first at-bat in game 162 to ensure he would take the batting crown.

"We'll play it by ear -- I've taken a lot of heat for something like this, with Morneau, and I'll fall on the sword, for sure, for DJ," Weiss said. "When it comes down to sitting out an at-bat or two, whatever it looks like, I'm willing to do that to get him the batting title. Winning a batting title doesn't take one day, the last game of the season, it takes six months."

Emotional baseball watching: Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado said he watched live from his hotel room Monday as the Marlins' Dee Gordon hit his home run for his late teammate, Jose Fernandez. Arenado said he didn't shed tears -- those fell Sunday when he learned of Fernandez's boating-accident death.

Video: NYM@MIA: Gordon leads the game off with a solo homer

"The cool thing is that he did Jose's swing before, right-handed, on the first pitch -- I've never seen that before," Arenado said. "For him to go up there and hit a bomb in his first at-bat is pretty special. You could see the emotion running down his face and his whole team's face after and during.

"Obviously, it's unfortunate for Bartolo [Colon, the Mets' pitcher] to give it up. But that moment, it was pretty awesome. The part that hit me was they were all in tears and out there playing baseball. They were hurting, in pain, and still went out there and played a great game for their fans."

Arenado marveled at the leadership of outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who gave a pregame speech to his teammates.

"Someone needed to say something to kind of get them going, and it was cool to see him step up," Arenado.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Colorado Rockies, Nolan Arenado, DJ LeMahieu