ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Diamondbacks excited to have Geraldo Perdomo’s energy, leadership back

Jun 11, 2024, 7:51 PM

Geraldo Perdomo...

Christian Walker #53 and Geraldo Perdomo #2 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate after Perdomo scored a run in the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers during Game One of the World Series at Globe Life Field on October 27, 2023 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The past nine weeks have been weird for Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Geraldo Perdomo.

He had never been on the injured list throughout his pro ball career, but after a torn meniscus put him on the IL retroactive to April 4, he had to spend the next two months working toward Tuesday.

The D-backs activated Perdomo, whose energy and leadership have been missed.

“It’s always tough when you know you will not be at the field and helping your team. It was tough for me. I came sometimes to be a cheerleader for my guys,” Perdomo said.

“This is my life. This my girlfriend, my wife, everything. I like to be on the field, I like to have fun. That’s the most important for me. But it was weird, for sure.”

Manager Torey Lovullo gave credit to Blaze Alexander and Kevin Newman for holding it down in Perdomo’s absence, and the two will continue to play a role. Arizona optioned first baseman/outfielder Pavin Smith to keep an extra infielder as Perdomo works back into everyday shape.

Perdomo has more range and arm strength than Newman while providing the stability Alexander continues to work toward. On offense, he was key in setting up the top of the order with a .353 on-base clip last year when he made the All-Star Game.

Perdomo’s growing leadership

Lovullo also said the D-backs will benefit from getting a defensive captain and emotional leader of the team back, someone who has grown in that role since making his debut at 21 years old in 2021.

“He just does the right thing, says the right thing. He’s just spot on with self evaluation, team evaluation and he’s just so fearless,” Lovullo said. “I think it gives us a really good push, gives us a really nice dose of quality energy that he will bring every single day.”

Lovullo said he has been hard on Perdomo over the years to have what it takes to be an everyday MLB shortstop, the quarterback and manger on the field. Perdomo as a big leaguer took his lumps early in 2021 and 2022. Lovullo called it a “wonderful work in progress” to get to this point.

“In the beginning, I didn’t realize what he tried to do with me because he was hard at the beginning,” Perdomo said. “But since he explained to me and I’ve been learning, I just take on the role. I always thought whatever happened on the infield, just blame it on me. I think I can be the leader in the infield. It’s tough. I’m young, but I’m very mature in my mind.”

The club has not always shown an identity through a 31-35 start, not quite the chaos shown last season nor the significant power surge aimed for in the offseason.

Perdomo personifies what worked in 2023 with tough at-bats, savvy base running and clean defense. The D-backs have played better overall of late with a 6-3 record over the last nine games, but his return doubles as a boost and sign more help is coming.

Center fielder Alek Thomas could get into complex league games later this week. Ace Zac Gallen has been throwing in the bullpen.

“Talk about a guy who has a standard, right?” first baseman Christian Walker told Arizona Sports. “Same guy every day, happy, high energy. It’s contagious. You want to laugh, you want to joke when you’re around him. And all that aside, he’s turned himself into a really good player, defensively, offensively.

“We’re super excited to have him back. Super excited to get to share time with him in the clubhouse and road trips and just be around him in general. He’s a good personality.”

Walker, who had IL stints in 2018 and 2021, said it is different having someone back in the fight with the team than around while rehabbing.

Perdomo said his knee feels strong, and he is as confident as ever about his hitting.

Not to say the shortstop is not going to flip every issue the D-backs have. They continue to be stressed by pitching injuries and are looking for certain hitters to heat up.

But the vibes and consistency Perdomo brings is another step closer to the version of this team initially envisioned.

“We can do better for sure,” Perdomo said. “We have a lot of injuries, a lot of starting pitchers are hurt right now, and it’s tough. … I think we are only one game behind the wild card. We have a chance. Nothing is impossible.”

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