Descalso steady with bat while moving defensively

Descalso steady with bat while moving defensively

DENVER -- Rockies utility man Daniel Descalso has achieved a feat with an underrated degree of difficulty -- maintaining consistency in the batter's box even though he has been forced from his comfort zone defensively.

Descalso has made eight starts at first base, where he has started just 13 games in his career. His four starts in left field this season are all he has made in the Majors. With Gerardo Parra out with a left high ankle sprain, Descalso has played left field when manager Walt Weiss needed an extra lefty in the lineup.

Yet, Descalso entered Friday night's game against the Braves (which he did not start) batting .337 with a .440 on-base percentage in 42 games since returning from a broken left hand that delayed the start of his season.

Descalso signed a two-year, $3.6 million contract before last season with the Rockies, who liked his work for winning Cardinals teams from 2010-14. Descalso struggled to a .205 average in 109 games, with much of his defensive action coming at second and third base.

Knowing he could be called upon in many areas this year, Descalso used the offseason to regain hitting consistency that would endure even if he was moving around defensively.

"I worked hard on having some more rhythm and cleaning some mechanical issues, and got off to a good start when I got off the DL," Descalso said. "I've tried to build on that. Last year I felt like I was searching for something the whole year."

Part of the reason his hitting mindset has endured is he doesn't make a big deal of where he's playing defensively.

"The approach I've always taken with playing different positions is go make the routine play," said Descalso, who has five starts at second base and one at third. "Don't try to do anything more than that. I don't think it's fair for me to expect myself to be Gerardo Parra in left field or even Mark Reynolds at first base."

Weiss said Descalso's ability to extend his versatility to new positions is no small attribute.

"First of all, you've got to be willing to do it, and accept that role, and Danny certainly has done that," Weiss said. "It's really a luxury for a manager, especially with a four-man bench, to have a guy who can do those types of things especially in the National League."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for 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.