McMahon could earn Rockies’ first base job | PostIndependent.com

McMahon could earn Rockies’ first base job

Jose M. Romero
Associated Press
Colorado Rockies' Ryan McMahon connects for an RBI-double during the second inning of a spring training exhibition baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
AP | AP

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Ryan McMahon is moving closer to opening the regular season as the Colorado Rockies’ first baseman.

The 23-year-old entered Thursday hitting .387 with a team-leading 12 hits in 31 at-bats.

“The numbers might be OK, but numbers don’t really mean much in spring training,” McMahon said. “You’re just trying to find your swing and get ready for the season. Trying to find the swing that I want and just enjoying it.”

Mark Reynolds, who remains a free agent, was the primary first baseman last season and had 30 homers and 97 RBIs. McMahon made his major league debut Aug. 12 and hit .158 (3 for 19) in 17 games.

McMahon has long gotten past the wow factor of being in the same clubhouse with the Rockies’ stars.

McMahon, who could follow shortstop Trevor Story from the amateur draft into the Rockies’ lineup, admits to copying what he sees on and off the field from the veterans, including third baseman Nolan Arenado.

“Take aspects of their game, just how they handle their business, go about their job being very professional,” McMahon said. “I can only be myself, but definitely want to take parts of how they go about their day.”

McMahon and Story were roommates two years ago when Story earned a starting job in spring training. McMahon took mental notes.

McMahon said Black told him at the outset of spring training to be himself and play loose.

“Having him say that kind of relaxed me a little bit,” McMahon said. “Obviously I understand what’s at stake, but having the skip tell me to go out and do your thing and play ball the right way, I feel like that lifted a weight off my shoulders and it has led to me playing pretty well so far.”

Black won’t say how close McMahon is to earning the first-base job.

“Now he’s in a position to in the ensuing months or years to seize a position in the big leagues, and that’s what every player wants,” Black said. “Whether it happens right away, who knows? His long-range hope is to have a long career.

“The short term challenge is work on balls in the dirt. Work on ground balls at first base. Work on having good at-bats.”