DENVER -- The Rockies sent a franchise-record four All-Stars to Miami on Tuesday, but one of them -- DJ LeMahieu -- didn't see any action.LeMahieu, who celebrated his 29th birthday Thursday, was back in the lineup Friday in the Rockies' 14-2 loss to the Mets after sitting out the 2017
DENVER -- The Rockies sent a franchise-record four All-Stars to Miami on Tuesday, but one of them -- DJ LeMahieu -- didn't see any action.
LeMahieu, who celebrated his 29th birthday Thursday, was back in the lineup Friday in the Rockies' 14-2 loss to the Mets after sitting out the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard to rest his nagging groin injury. He went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored, and he played all nine innings. LeMahieu had played a full nine-inning game just twice this month, but manager Bud Black said he believes his second baseman is getting closer to being at full strength.
"He's getting better," Black said Friday afternoon. "He's doing a better job moving around. He feels like he's moving better. My confidence is growing."
Black admits he has had to manage some recent games around what LeMahieu has been able to do, taking him out for a pinch-runner or a defensive replacement. "Hopefully we'll be looking [at the injury] in the rear-view mirror soon," Black said.
Controversy arose about LeMahieu's selection as an All-Star. From the outside, it had appeared leaving off 2016 National League Most Valuable Player Award winner Kristopher Bryant in favor of LeMahieu -- himself the reigning batting champion -- was a major snub.
Part of that reasoning had to do with LeMahieu's sabermetric statistics. Though he's hitting .307/.365/.389, LeMahieu trails Bryant 2.9 to 0.8 in Wins Above Replacement, according to Fangraphs.com.
LeMahieu said although he thinks exit velocity is cool, he "doesn't think there has to be a number for everything" when measuring players.
"I just try to help the team win and try to be a complete player," LeMahieu said last week. "I don't have unbelievable tools or anything, so I just need to be a good solid player trying to help the team win every night."
Black faced LeMahieu from the division-rival Padres' dugout for 3 1/2 seasons. Black said from that standpoint, one gets a sense of all the little things LeMahieu does to win.
"He's one of those players that when you're on the other side, he beats you," Black said. "Whether it's an instinctual play, whether it's turning the double play, whether it's a sliding play in the hole, whether it's a relay throw, whether it's a base hit -- all those things.
"You remember David Eckstein? ... He showed up, like, every day, and he helped them win. So he's one of those players, for me."
Black seemed to acknowledge LeMahieu's statistical disadvantage, but he said LeMahieu makes up for it with his "beating the other team" factor.
"In the one game, like [how] the most important thing today is this game, he has a way of showing up," Black said. "You take every at-bat, all the Statcast™ and exit velocities and maybe he doesn't show up, but in a game to win, he shows up in that category."
Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver.