DENVER -- In a season marked by Rockies rookies excelling all around the diamond, second baseman DJ LeMahieu has made a big impression.
After coming with Tyler Colvin in the trade that sent Ian Stewart to the Cubs this offseason, LeMahieu has gotten better and better. He played 37 games and hit .250 in his big league debut with the Cubs last year, but he is hitting .288 in 49 games with the Rockies this season. He started out hitting .200 (2-for-10) in May, and has improved month-by-month, hitting .207 (6-for-29) in June, .316 (6-for-19) in July and .328 (22-for-67) in August.
"He has a real nose for the ball," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said before opening a series against the Dodgers on Monday. "His field awareness is off the charts. He's a very good situational hitter. He has improved offensively, evidenced again yesterday by the double that he hit when he drove the ball over the center fielder's head."
LeMahieu has been working on making a mechanical adjustment at the plate, working to fire his lower half to get the bat a little further forward.
"That's what we're spending time on right now," Tracy said. "I personally feel we're succeeding. It's not an overnight fix. I knew that it wouldn't be. This is something from an offensive standpoint -- a project that we started with him on back in December -- and he's slowly but surely gravitating toward the area that we want him to go in."
LeMahieu figures to be a big part of the Rockies' infield plans, though he's probably penciled in behind Josh Rutledge at second, Troy Tulowitzki at short and Jordan Pacheco at third for the 2013 season.
"There's nothing not to like about this player," Tracy said. "He's versatile, he's smart, he's a gamer. Everything to love."