David Dahl will not be returning to the Rockies anytime soon. In an interview with MLB Network Radio today, manager Bud Black said, “He's still a ways away. Still not able to [show] 100% exertion on the swing.” That is a major milestone in Dahl’s recovery from a rib injury sustained early in spring training.
Thomas Harding reported a few weeks ago that Dahl had progressed to throwing and running but that the Rockies wanted to be exceedingly cautious so as to not reaggrevate the injury.
In truth, the Rockies outfield is a little crowded at the moment. Were David Dahl able to play, Black would have to find a way to fit in the former top PuRP who hit .315/.359/.500 in 222 at bats last season into a lineup that is bursting at the seams. Black is already having to juggle a rebounding Gerardo Parra (.287/.321/.432), a surging Mark Reynolds (.298/.362/.606), and the return of Rockies free agent prize Ian Desmond. And then there’s Charlie Blackmon (.290/.336/.589) and Carlos Gonzalez, the only one off to a slow start and, to a certain extent, the most difficult bat to take out of the lineup.
In short, the Rockies currently have no incentive to rush Dahl back unless he is absolutely ready to contribute. If all these players are still producing when Dahl is ready to return, the Rockies may elect to send him to Triple-A Albuquerque to get regular at bats rather than try to force a rotation of six players through four positions. Wouldn’t that be a nice problem to have.