Still healing from his broken hand, Paul DeJong found a new way to shag balls in the St. Louis Cardinals outfield before yesterday’s game, he’s switched to being left-handed.
“Yeah, I traded gloves with Austin Gomber and I’ve got a nice, new gray outfield glove for me,” he laughed. “I feel like I have to have a glove in the outfield shagging. I don’t mind shagging, but I don’t want to do it with nothing on. If I can’t wear my proper glove, I’ll wear the opposite.”
The right-handed shortstop had surgery to repair the broken left metacarpal after he was hit by a pitch May 17th.
“Things are good,” said DeJong, who’s about 9 days post-op. “Everything looks better than expected and now it’s just about getting some time and slowly working my way back into things. But it will still be a couple of more weeks before I start really trying to do some baseball activities.”
His hand not in a hard cast, but wrapped and with a small brace, DeJong has already been active in doing his rehab and anything else allowed to try and stay in shape.
“I’ve been lifting a lot, running, doing my cardio,” said DeJong. “I’m actually feeling better now than I did before the injury, so I think when I comeback my legs and arm will feel ready. Once my hand’s ready to go, I think I’ll come back strong than I was before.”
“Lower-body,” clarified DeJong. “We have some ways to do some upper body work, but so far it’s been pretty light.”
The next hurdle is getting the full range of motion back in his fingers.
“That’s the entirety of my hand therapy,” explained DeJong. “The swelling’s going down, it’s almost gone. There’s still a little bit in there, so just focusing on trying to get that down. Once that’s down, I think we’ll start doing some more activities.”
Even with missing the last 13 games, DeJong still leads National League shortstops with an .824 OPS and his 8 home runs are tied for the second most.
Unlike a broken thumb or other digit which can take longer, with the break in the metacarpal, DeJong is not sure how long it will take to regain his full hand strength.
“It’s hard to say,” he said. “Really, I’d like to see the x-rays with the new bone coming in healthy and all that. Once we get those signs, then I think we can really start ramping up the activity and then I guess just go based on how I feel from there. It’s hard to tell, but I think I’m still at least a month out.”
photo credit: Brian Stull-STLBaseballWeekly.com; Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports