Ian Desmond takes batting practice with broken hand on mend

Colorado Rockies first baseman Ian Desmond, back center, talks to reporters after taking batting practice for the first time since his hand was broken by a pitch during spring training as the Rockies prepare to face the Washington Nationals in a baseball game Monday, April 24, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER (AP) Ian Desmond launched a baseball in batting practice that bounced off the yogurt stand behind the seats in left field. His broken left hand appears to be mending quite nicely.

The Colorado Rockies first baseman had a productive workout Monday as he took 25 swings in the batting cage, ran the bases, fielded some grounders at first and shagged fly balls. He’s been sidelined since he was hit by a pitch from Cincinnati’s Rookie Davis on March 12.

Desmond had several eyes on him, too, with owner Dick Monfort, general manager Jeff Bridich and manager Bud Black stopping by for a glance at the player the Rockies signed to a $70 million, five-year contract in December to make the transition to first.

”Today was sort of exciting, with `Dezzy’ on the field doing everything,” Black said of Desmond, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list on April 2. ”You know what that tells me? He’s getting close. He’s getting close.”

For now, the tentative plan is for Desmond to take more batting practice. Later this week, he may accompany the team to Arizona, where he had surgery performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan on March 15 to repair the second metacarpal bone.

”Just patiently wait,” Desmond said. ”It was good to get back on the field and feel like a baseball player again.”

Desmond said his swing needs more fine-tuning.

”Hitting a home run in batting practice isn’t necessarily a goal of mine,” Desmond said. ”I want to have a good, crisp swing that I know I can take into the game. I felt close to that today. Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll get back out there again and get some things corrected.”

The 31-year-old laughed when asked how many rehab games he’d like in the minors before he’s ready.

”I’d like none,” cracked Desmond, a .267 hitter with 132 homers. ”We’ll see. I don’t know. It’s going to depend on how my swing feels and how much they trust me.”

Perhaps it was only fitting that Desmond took cuts in the cage Monday, with the Washington Nationals in town for a four-game series. He was selected in the third round of the 2004 amateur draft by the Montreal Expos, the final draft class before the franchise moved to Washington, D.C. Desmond played shortstop for the Nationals for parts of seven seasons before signing a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers to patrol the outfield last season.

”Anytime 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, really grateful for my time in Texas. I couldn’t be happier to be here and be a part of this team. We’re going to do something special. Can’t wait to get back out there and be a part of that.”

Black can’t wait to write him into the lineup, either. Mark Reynolds has been more than adequately holding down the spot in Desmond’s absence.

”(Ian) is going to be a key component of our team moving forward,” Black said. ”We’ve talked about his versatility and his value as a player.

”I know he’s been chomping at the bit to do more. He got the green light medically to really swing the bat today. Everything looked great. It’s great.”

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball