DJ LeMahieu goes about his business with quiet intensity. There's little flash to his game, and he's not the type to draw attention to himself.
But as the Rockies conducted their first full-squad workout of spring training Sunday, there's no doubt LeMahieu is an integral piece of the club's puzzle.
"I think he's a guy that nobody's giving much of a shot at this camp, but I like his chances," said two-time all-star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. "I don't think anybody should sleep on him."
Although LeMahieu, 24, was the Rockies' starting second baseman for the final two months of the 2012 season, he isn't guaranteed that job in 2013. Rather, rookie Josh Rutledge is penciled in as the starter.
Rutledge shined last season, filling in at shortstop for the injured Tulowitzki. This spring, Rutledge is moving over to second base full time, where the Rockies hope he provides power to the lineup. Rutledge had a .345 batting average with 24 extra-base hits in his first 145 at-bats. Fatigued by the long season, and battling a quadriceps injury, Rutledge batted only .197 with just nine extra-base hits over his final 132 at-bats.
Still, Rutledge is the hot prospect with pop in his bat.
LeMahieu understands the scenario and knows the Rockies have a surplus of infielders, but he won't let it faze him. He considers himself a contender for the starting job at second base.
"I'm just going to go into camp competing," LeMahieu said. "But I would go in with the same attitude even if I had a job locked up."
If LeMahieu doesn't beat out Rutledge at second base, he still projects as a valuable utility player, able to play second, third or shortstop. His ability to handle the bat — he showed last season he's adept at the hit-and-run play — is a bonus.


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