More confident Geraldo Perdomo looks to keep improving for D-backs

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

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

The 22-year-old made his MLB debut last April, replacing starter Nick Ahmed. In three starts, he went 1 for 10 at the plate and erred. He returned to the minors until taking over Chase Field on September 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 my confidence and all that, it was a very good adjustment,” Perdomo said Sunday, through a translator. Spanish.

Perdomo, who turns 23 in October, is trusted to once again replace Ahmed, who is on the 10-day injured list with a shoulder problem that has plagued him since 2020.

The Dominican Republic‘s young infielder practiced at the plate, hitting .313 with an OPS of .822 in 32 at-bats.

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

“He’s grown a little bit, he’s using more force to hit the baseball and it’s coming from the base,” Lovullo said Tuesday. “He’s worked hard for it and he’s able to chase mistakes out of the ballpark.”

The 22-year-old has walked five in 13 plate appearances to start the season, although the hits have yet to come. He hit base three times Sunday against the San Diego Padres and scored a run.

Perdomo said he’s been working on his swing on both sides of the plate in the offseason and trying to find more power. He added muscle over the winter and thinks there is more growth to be had.

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

Lovullo came to the defense of Perdomo, hoping to avoid rushing errors, and he saw improvement.

“I’ve been very tough on him about what it takes to be a daily shortstop in the major leagues,” Lovullo said. “He has this message, you can see that he basically very rarely makes a mistake. When he does, he knows how to correct it immediately.

“To play every day at the big league level and especially to play shortstop, you have to know how to equip yourself with quick movements, be in the right place at the right time and understand what it takes to look like to make a play. He was really good with that.

Defense is a major priority for Lovullo this year. The D-backs finished 26th in the league in defensive points saved in the previous two seasons at -40.

Perdomo hit a costly pitch that took first baseman Christian Walker out of the bag in Sunday’s 10-5 loss to the Padres. It was a sour mark on what has otherwise been a strong 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, who Lovullo says is progressing well, remains on the sidelines.

The D-backs return to play Tuesday against the Houston Astros. Chase Field’s first pitch is at 6:40 p.m. and you can tune in to the sports station 98.7 FM Arizona.

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