LeMahieu looking to end season strong

LeMahieu looking to end season strong

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu says ".300 is just a number," but manager Walt Weiss indicated it's an important enough number to preserve.

LeMahieu, who won his first Rawlings Gold Glove Award last year and played in his first All-Star Game this season, has seen his batting average dropped from .317 on Sept. 9 to .302. The underlying cause is left shoulder soreness, brought on when he landed wrong after he dove for a grounder.

The .302 average was good enough for 10th in the National League going into Friday night's game against the Giants, which LeMahieu didn't start. LeMahieu can afford to go 0-for-3 without dropping below .300, and Weiss said he's well aware. LeMahieu realizes the significance of the number, since it signifies a good year at first glance.

"Mostly, the fans like that number more than the players, and .300 would be something cool, but I want to finish strong," LeMahieu said.

Weiss plans to use LeMahieu against the Giants on Saturday, but will be aware of the number. Weiss said regardless of the final average, LeMahieu's consistency offensively has been one of the best developments of a difficult Rockies season.

"Without question, he took another big step in his career," Weiss said. "He played in an All-Star Game. It's really neat to think about. He's fought for everything that he's gotten. Nothing's been given to him. He's had to fight for opportunities, and he's a winning player. That's the best way for me to sum up DJ LeMahieu."

LeMahieu was a Cubs second-round pick in 2009 and was dealt to the Rockies in 2011. LeMahieu began 2012 and 2013 in Triple-A Colorado Springs and each time ended up grabbing the second-base job. By the end of 2013, he earned the Rockies' Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award and finally established himself as a regular.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.