ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

A more confident Geraldo Perdomo looks to keep improving for D-backs

Apr 11, 2022, 8:02 PM

Infielder Geraldo Perdomo #2 of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the MLB game between the San Diego ...

Infielder Geraldo Perdomo #2 of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the MLB game between the San Diego Padres and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 09, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Geraldo Perdomo took the field on Thursday, the youngest Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop to start on Opening Day since the franchise played its first game in 1998.

Perdomo, who is the D-backs’ No. 8 prospect on MLB Pipeline, received a taste of the big leagues in two stints last season, which tell part of the story of his growth.

The 22-year-old made his MLB debut last April, filling in for starter Nick Ahmed. In three starts, he went 1-for-10 at the plate and committed an error. He went back to the minors until retaking Chase Field on Sept. 26. With a new mindset, he hit .333 with clean defense in seven games.

“In the middle of the 2021 season in Double-A … I found myself, I regained confidence and all that, it was a very good adjustment,” Perdomo said on Sunday, through a Spanish tranlator.

Perdomo, who will turn 23 in October, is being trusted to fill in for Ahmed once again, who is on the 10-day injured list with a shoulder issue that has nagged him since 2020.

The young infielder from the Dominican Republic had a hot spring training at the plate, hitting .313 with an OPS of .822 in 32 at-bats.

Manager Torey Lovullo said Perdomo has always had a good eye, but now the shortstop is putting more strength behind his swings.

“He’s grown a little bit, he’s using more force to strike the baseball and it’s coming from the ground up,” Lovullo said on Tuesday. “He’s worked hard at that and he is able to drive mistakes out of the ballpark.”

The 22-year-old has five walks in 13 plate appearances to start the season, although the hits have not come yet. He reached base on balls three times Sunday against the San Diego Padres and scored a run.

Perdomo said he worked on his swing from both sides of the plate during the offseason and is striving to find more power. He added muscle during the winter and feels there’s more growth to be had.

With an offense struggling to string together hits early this season, the D-backs could use a jolt from the bottom of the order.

Lovullo got on Perdomo’s defense, hoping to cut out mistakes that come from rushing, and he’s seen improvement.

“I’ve been on him pretty hard about what it takes to be an everyday major-league shortstop,” Lovullo said. “He’s got that message, you can see he fundamentally very rarely makes a mistake. When he does, he knows how to correct it immediately.

“To play everyday at the big-league level and especially play shortstop, you’ve got to be able to equip yourself with fast movements, be in the right place at the right time and understand what you’ve got to look like to make a play. He’s been really good with that.”

Defense is a major point of emphasis for Lovullo this year. The D-backs were 26th in the league in defensive runs saved over the previous two seasons at -40.

Perdomo had a costly throw that took first baseman Christian Walker off the bag in Sunday’s 10-5 loss against the Padres. It was a sour mark on what has otherwise been a sharp defensive showing this year when it comes to his range and glove skills.

His ability to make adjustments will continue to be tested while Ahmed, whom Lovullo said is progressing well, remains sidelined.

The D-backs return to action on Tuesday against the Houston Astros. First pitch from Chase Field is at 6:40 p.m. and you can tune in on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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