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Prospect Q&A: Rockies' Dahl healthy for '16

With strong finish, productive offseason, outfielder eyes breakout year
January 12, 2016

Many prospects can relate to missing time due to injury during a long and arduous season, but not many can empathize with what David Dahl went through a year ago.

Just when it looked like the Rockies' No. 3 prospect was hitting his stride in Double-A at 21 years old, he suffered a lacerated spleen in a violent collision with teammate Juan Ciriaco on May 28. The outfielder underwent emergency surgery to save the organ but later elected to have it removed and give himself the opportunity to return to the field in 2015.

Return, he did. After six weeks away off the field, Dahl picked up where he left off. After batting .222/.267/.309 in 19 games in April, the 2012 first-round pick upped his numbers to .307/.320/.436 in May before the injury.'s No. 47 oveall prospect was even better upon returning, compiling a .292/.318/.481 slash line in 29 games. All that came despite another uncommon injury when Dahl fouled a ball off his right knee shortly after returning to New Britain. The strong finish helped him earn a Rockies Organization All-Star nod.

Originally slated to play in the Arizona Fall League, Dahl rested and healed while living in Arizona and immersing himself in the Rockies' facilities at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Despite the time he missed, 2015 had the feel of a breakout season. Now the Birmingham, Alabama, native is anxious for 2016. Coming off of such a strange year with the spleen injury, how has this offseason been?

Dahl: My offseason's going well. I've been working out, running, trying to get stronger, running, hitting, doing everything I need to do to get ready for the season. It's really coming up. I had to take some time off just to rehab my knee a little bit and get that better before I really started getting after it in the weight room. I came back from my spleen injury and then, like three games back, I fouled a ball right off my kneecap. I played through it, but it was progressively getting worse to the point where I couldn't walk, so I missed the last two weeks of the season.

Then the hope was to go to instructs, get it ready and try to play in the Fall League, and my knee just wasn't ready. I wasn't going to be able to go out there and compete against those kinds of guys and be 100 percent. [The Rockies] shut that down, and I decided just to live out here in Arizona and work out at our Spring Training complex and have all our strength coaches, all our trainers watching me and making sure everything's going well. I'm happy and I'm ready to go now." What does the spleen removal mean for you going forward?

Dahl: It's nothing too crazy. I've got to get some flu shots and vaccination shots every few years. I get the flu shot every year just to make sure. If I feel sick or something, I have to go to the doctor and get antibiotics faster than most people just because that can turn into something worse if I don't treat it right away. Other than that, it's not really affecting me at all. I'm able to do everything that I've done in the past. Did you stay in New Britain to rehab or go to the Rockies complex?

Dahl: I stayed in New Britain. I was actually in the hospital for like eight days and I missed the road trip. Then I came back and my mom was there, so me and her stayed in a hotel for a couple of days. I just rested and recovered, and then after that, I was back with the team going to the games, BP, stuff like that.

I felt like it was fine [staying with the team]. I didn't have any problems with it or anything like that. I like being around my teammates and stuff, watching them play. It wasn't bad at all. Were you surprised at how well you played when you came back?

Dahl: When I got it removed, I knew there was a chance I could come back and play. I actually came back faster than we thought, just because my body was doing well. I was recovering fine. I was getting my strength back. I wasn't 100 percent, like my top strength or top speed, stuff like that, but I wanted to get back and play. I went out there not really trying to focus on results but really trying to focus on getting better, do what I need to do to work on my defense, work on my approach at the plate, work on just the little things like that and trust the process and take it one at-bat at a time and not worry about the results. Doing that actually made the results there where at the beginning of the season, I was half-pressing, wanting to show people that I belonged there. I was just trying to do too much and put too much pressure on myself."

Blessed is an understatement. So happy I'm back to doing what I love! #trusttheprocess

A photo posted by David Dahl (@ddahl21) on Since you've moved to Arizona for the offseason, what's a typical day like?

Dahl: I usually wake up, like, 8, make breakfast and stuff and then watch some "SportsCenter" or something, and then we go to the field. I leave about 9:30, get there, roll out, stretch and then we go do whatever we want to do. We go in the weight room, do our workouts there. It's probably going to increase now because I'm increasing the baseball activity, so lately we've been there until about 12, 12:30. Now it might be even longer, and then I come home, eat. Me and my roommates -- I'm living with Trevor Story and Ryan McMahon -- we all just hang out, go watch movies, go do whatever. Sometimes we hang out at the house and just chill. What's it like being part of a system that's got a lot of depth with guys like Story and McMahon?

Dahl: We're all best friends. We all hang out after games. We just do stuff as a team and then we get that team chemistry. We're like a family. In the offseason, some of the guys haven't been out here yet, and we always keep up with them, texting, FaceTime, whatever. We're always talking with them. I feel like that helps because you know they have your back when you're out there on the field. You know that if you don't get the job done, the next guy will step up and get the job done for you. It's really cool to see, as you keep moving up, how close we've become. What else do you like to do away from the field?

Dahl: I usually just hang out, watch Netflix. My roommates golf a lot, so I've been trying to learn to golf. I'm terrible at that, but it's fun to go out there and hang out with your friends on the course even though all it is is they joke on me the whole time because I'm so bad. I'm trying to learn how to play right-handed, which is awkward. I don't want to mess my baseball swing up, so I'm trying to learn right-handed.

I'm getting a little bit better. I've still got a long way to go. How much do you hear about or pay attention to trade rumors involving Rockies outfielders now that you're so close to the big leagues?

Dahl: Honestly, I try not to pay attention to any of it. I try to control what I can control, which is putting in the work, working hard, going out and taking care of my business, performing on the field, staying healthy. If I can continue to do that, then I know that when I'm ready to go up there and help the team win ballgames, I know that'll happen. I'm not trying to think about it; I'm just trying to get better every day and trust the process. When it happens, it'll happen. What does the strong finish do for your confidence heading into the 2016 season?

Dahl: It gives me a lot of confidence, just seeing that even when I wasn't at my best, I was still out there competing and putting up a fight and doing what I needed to do to get the job done and help the team win. Just seeing that, it really helps me coming into this year. I'm just really excited to play. I missed the last two weeks and the Fall League, so I'm just ready to get back after it. After everything you went through last year, how excited are you to get to Opening Day, feeling healthy?

Dahl: I can't wait to get started. I'm ready to go out and have fun, play the game that I love. Once you miss so much time like I have, it makes you realize how much you love the game and want to be out there. I'm just really excited to see where this year takes me. I'm just trusting the process that the Rockies have, and I can't wait to see where I am at the end.

Tyler Maun is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun.