Last year, Ian Desmond seemed to draw a line between one phase of his career and the next. As a rookie, he committed 34 errors. The total dropped to 23 in 2011 and then only 15 last season. He had proven, after many years of toil in both the minors and majors, he could play shortstop and produce a modicum of errors.
The start to this season, then, has been a harsh surprise. In only 18 games, Desmond has committed an MLB-worst seven errors, the latest coming Sunday when he sailed a throw wide of Adam LaRoche at first base. Today, Desmond expressed confidence he would correct the problem and maintained he was not worried about his early rash of errors metastasizing into a season-long issue.
“In every aspect of the game, you start at zero each new year,” Desmond said. “I could rest my hat on what I did last year, but that’s not the case. Every year is a new year. You got to keep on working to get better.
“It’s baseball. Sometimes you make errors. That’s why they invented the name error. Someone made one at some point. It is what it is. I got a few more than I would like right now, but it’s a long year. We’re in an okay situation for the way we’ve been playing. If this is as bad as it can get, it’s going to be fun and exciting to be a part of it.”
Desmond shrugged when asked if he could identify a reason for the string of miscues. There has not been much of a pattern. He has booted a couple balls, let a one-hopper skip through his legs and been unable to corral a slow roller as he charged. Four of his errors have been fielding, and three have been throwing.
“It happens,” Desmond said. “You go into slumps where you can’t find the barrel on the bat, or you can’t find first base or you can’t find the glove. You go through it. It’s part of the game. That’s how you make it to the big leagues – you have to have the courage to persevere. That’s what it’s all about. You got to push through.
“You just keep on playing. What am I going to do, tell Davey I don’t want to play anymore? I’m going to keep on going out there, and eventually it’s going to get better.”
Manager Davey Johnson agreed. For the second straight day, Johnson related the story of once watching Brooks Robinson make three errors in one game.
“I’m not worried about it at all,” Johnson said. “Sometimes, when it rains it pours. I don’t put much stock in it. It’s just part of baseball. He may go 60 games without making an error.”
Desmond has not allowed his early problems in the field to affect his offense. Desmond is hitting .290/.306/.551 with three homers.