Desmond continues progress in hand recovery

Desmond continues progress in hand recovery

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies first baseman Ian Desmond handled short-hop and ground balls thrown to him Thursday -- the second day since his left hand fracture was deemed recovered enough for him to begin catching baseballs.

Desmond, injured in Spring Training when hit by a pitch March 12, has yet to take balls off the bat. Activity will increase, with the hope that he can begin a hitting progression next Wednesday as he works on a four-to-six-week timetable for a return.

"The bone growth is to the point that he feels comfortable of the impact of a ground ball, of the ball thrown into his mitt, just the jarring action on that bone," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "These are good signs for Ian."

Worth noting

• Rockies righty reliever Chad Qualls was scheduled to make his second injury rehab appearance for Triple-A Albuquerque at Reno on Thursday. On Tuesday, Qualls threw a scoreless inning with a strikeout against Reno, and fastball velocity was reported at 91 to 92 mph.

• Righty Jairo Diaz, completing a recovery from Tommy John surgery, made his second rehab appearance Wednesday for Class A Lancaster and gave up a wind-blown two-run homer. Diaz will join the Albuquerque club.

• The Rockies went 15-for-90 while dropping two of three at home against the Padres, who threw several unfamiliar pitchers. Could the four-game set against the Giants, who are throwing four established starters, actually be better for the Rockies?

"I wouldn't necessarily say any of these pitchers we're facing on the Giants are comfortable, but there is a familiarity," Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado said. "They're going to be tough. It's going to be a battle. It's always fun playing these guys because it's a good team and the fans are into it."

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