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With BP, Desmond takes significant step

MLB.com

DENVER -- The Nationals watched Ian Desmond reach many milestones dating back to their days as the Montreal Expos (they drafted him in 2004), so it was perhaps fitting that the first-year Rockie took another significant step toward his return from a fractured left hand with his former team in town.

Desmond took roughly 25 cuts in his first batting practice since being hit by a 93-mph fastball in a Cactus League game on March 12 and undergoing surgery. He also ran the bases, shagged fly balls in the outfield and fielded grounders at first, the position the Rockies acquired him to play.

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DENVER -- The Nationals watched Ian Desmond reach many milestones dating back to their days as the Montreal Expos (they drafted him in 2004), so it was perhaps fitting that the first-year Rockie took another significant step toward his return from a fractured left hand with his former team in town.

Desmond took roughly 25 cuts in his first batting practice since being hit by a 93-mph fastball in a Cactus League game on March 12 and undergoing surgery. He also ran the bases, shagged fly balls in the outfield and fielded grounders at first, the position the Rockies acquired him to play.

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Desmond completed the workout under the watchful eye of Rockies brass, including owner Dick Monfort and general manager Jeff Bridich, who signed Desmond to a five-year, $70 million contract in December.

"I felt pretty good," Desmond said. "My hand felt good. My swing could have felt a little bit better, but it was good. It was good to get back on the field and feel like a baseball player again."

The Rockies' tentative plan is for Desmond to continue taking BP this week. He will likely travel with the team to Arizona this weekend for the series against the D-backs, then be further evaluated by the surgeon who performed the procedure. If all goes well, Desmond could begin a rehab assignment in the near future, though manager Bud Black offered no specific timeline.

"He's going to be a key component of our team moving forward," Black said. "As you know, we've talked about his versatility, his value as a player, mixing in with all the other guys. It's great to see him on the field. I know he's been chomping at the bit to do more, and he got the green light medically to really swing the bat today. Everything looked great."

On Sunday, Black affirmed that the Rockies have had internal discussions about Desmond contributing in the outfield this season, though Black said it's unlikely Desmond will play shortstop, his primary position during his seven seasons with Washington (2009-15). Desmond played 927 games for the Nats, was an All-Star in 2012 and won three Silver Sluggers at short.

Desmond on Monday reflected on his tenure with the Nationals organization -- spanning its move from Montreal to the franchise's first National League East championship -- playing for manager and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, and serving on the board of the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy.

"I think I've done a pretty good job of cutting the cord. I think any time you go to a new team, you owe it to your teammates to be fully invested," Desmond said. "I'm really grateful for my time in Washington and really grateful for my time in Texas, but I couldn't be happier to be here and a part of this team. We're going to do something special, and I can't wait to get back out there and be a part of it."

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

Colorado Rockies, Ian Desmond