Desmond could return to lineup mid-April

Desmond could return to lineup mid-April

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies manager Bud Black said Thursday that surgery on first baseman Ian Desmond's broken left hand went so well that Desmond could be back in the Rockies' lineup by mid-April.

Dr. Donald Sheridan conducted the operation in Scottsdale on Wednesday. Desmond was hit Sunday on the second metacarpal of the left hand by a pitch from the Reds' Rookie Davis during Sunday's game. The club didn't initially indicate a timetable, but now Black said it's looking like four to six weeks.

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"It went well according to Dr. Sheridan; everything that they saw on film was realized when they went in," Black said. "The surgery was deemed successful. Mentally, he's doing great. We're thinking that hopefully this is a return to action sometime in April."

Desmond's two-run homer

That means Desmond, signed to a five-year, $70 million contract as a free agent during the winter, and power-hitting rookie catcher Tom Murphy, who has a hairline fracture of the right forearm, could be returning about the same time.

Mark Reynolds, a non-roster invitee expected to play first in Desmond's absence, suffered a similar injury when hit on the pinky metacarpal by a pitch on Sept. 18. Reynolds couldn't swing a golf club until after Thanksgiving and wasn't cleared to swing until mid December. However, it was the end of the season and Reynolds was a free agent. Desmond's is a different bone, and he'll have the modalities and bone stimulators that could help him return faster.

Black said the Rockies will know more when the bone is scanned again, but was delighted with the positive prognosis. Because the injury was to the catching hand, Desmond will be able to throw and do top-hand hitting drills in the meantime.

Murphy was injured Saturday when clipped by the bat of the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo while throwing to second on a steal attempt. He stayed in the game and was originally believed to be OK, and participated in Sunday's team archery tournament. But the medical staff detected the fracture upon further examination.

Murphy on fractured arm

Worth noting
• The Rockies were hoping for positive news on the right elbow of pitcher Rayan Gonzalez, who underwent an MRI on Wednesday after leaving the game against the Brewers.

• Outfielder David Dahl, out since early in the Cactus League schedule with a stress reaction in the sixth rib, will be evaluated Friday -- two weeks after the original diagnosis. If all goes well, Dahl will be allowed to increase activity. So far, he has been allowed to keep his legs in shape, but not much else.

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.