Make it forty eight games and counting as St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong is in the starting lineup again today, keeping him as the only player on the team to play in every game for which he’s been active this season.
“My hand’s feeling great–I don’t even think about it on the field which is where I want to be,” said DeJong, who spent a month and a half on the disabled list with a fractured left hand. “I feel like I’m a normal player again and I’ve moved past it.”
Despite having hit safely (7-24) in all six games since being activated, DeJong is still working to get back to his old self at the plate.
“I got some lucky hits, to be honest,” he said. “I’ve been scraping together some decent at-bats. I don’t think I’ve really come out of my shell just yet so going to continue to keep working and try to get my timing back. Really try to do some damage at the plate.”
Still looking for his first extra base hit since returning from the disabled list, DeJong admits to not yet driving the ball as he is accustomed to.
“Not yet, but that’s not because of my strength,” he explained. “It’s not because of my hand, it’s because of my timing and getting back into things. It’s more about little things, not about my hand itself.
Prior to heading out on his rehab assignment, testing showed DeJong had already regained almost all of his grip strength and he went through extensive defensive/glove drills with Jose Oquendo. Now it’s more a matter of ramping back up from the speed of Triple-A games to the Major Leagues.
“I’m starting to get back into the big leagues and feeling better here,” said DeJong. “I’m scraping together some hits and scoring some runs, I think there’s a lot of positives so far, I just don’t think I’ve really busted out yet.
“Defense, I’m feeling fine. I’m seeing the ball pretty good, so now it’s just about squaring some up and driving it.”
photo credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports