DENVER -- You could call DJ LeMahieu a pleasant surprise, but that would be insinuating that he came out of nowhere. The Rockies second baseman and No. 8 hitter most certainly did not.
LeMahieu was among the best hitters in the college ranks a few seasons ago, guiding Louisiana State to two College World Series appearances. In 2009, the year LSU won it all in Omaha, LeMahieu hit .444 (12-for-27) with four RBIs, three extra-base hits and nine runs scored. His efforts made him a second-round pick with the Cubs in '09, and he landed with the Rockies in an offseason trade that included outfielder Tyler Colvin for Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers.
LeMahieu was called up after Jon Herrera was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 23 and notched his first hit as a Rockie five days later, an RBI double. Another stroke of chance for LeMahieu: The groin injury that sent Troy Tulowitzki to the 15-day disabled list opened up an infield spot; Marco Scutaro moved over to shortstop, and LeMahieu to second base.
"He's played a lot of second and, quite frankly, the best place for him defensively is second base," said Rockies manager Jim Tracy. "He plays it extremely well. That's not to say that he couldn't go over and play shortstop if we had to do so. ... He can definitely do that."
Over the last five games entering Saturday, LeMahieu had three hits (.250 batting average) from the eight-spot with two RBIs and a stolen base.
"I have good bat control, I think that helps me out," said LeMahieu. "Hitting eighth is different than what I'm used to, but I've learned to take smarter at-bats with the pitcher behind me."