Normally a regular in center field, Colvin underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow after the 2008 season ended and spent most of the off-season at the Cubs' rehab facilities in Mesa, Ariz.
Now, six months after surgery, Colvin is suiting up as the designated hitter for Advanced Class-A Daytona, exactly where he predicted he'd be when he was rehabbing in Mesa earlier this spring.
"It's feeling good. I'm at about 80 percent right now, and I'm on pace in my rehab to be back on schedule," Colvin said following Daytona's 8-6 loss to Dunedin on Tuesday.
Colvin, who made it to Class AA Tennessee in his first season with the Cubs in '07, played in 137 games for the Smokies one season ago. He batted .256, smashing 14 home runs, 27 doubles and 11 triples. This season, he was 4-for-17 with four walks through five games.
Colvin is using his time wisely, trying to focus on his swing.
"I'm trying to hone in on my approach and take some good at-bats, and obviously get my arm better. I'm being more patient and selective, looking for a certain pitch in a certain spot rather than just hacking away at it all the time," said Colvin.
The hardest thing for Colvin right now is not being out on the field between at-bats.
"DH'ing is hard. It's like getting four pinch hits a game. I just sit there and do nothing for a while. I try to have a little routine where I'll go back to the cage and take some swings and then maybe get on the bike and stay loose," says Colvin.
It's hard on Colvin, especially seeing how the communication in the outfield has seemed to struggle so far this season, and there were several botched plays in the Cubs' loss to the Blue Jays Tuesday.
"On nights like tonight, it's tough. We have three young guys out there; a couple who haven't played much outfield and the wind is tough to adjust to, and some of them may have not gotten used to it yet," said Colvin.
Colvin is on an anticipated time-table with his rehab to be back in the outfield by early next month. Daytona manager Buddy Bailey says if he's got the opportunity, he will use Colvin.
"Seems like medically, it's going along great. It seems like he's still on the projected path to start throwing, and hopefully by the first of May he can get into a game," said Bailey.
Bailey and Cubs coaches also agree that Colvin's patience at the plate is improving – something the club had hoped for after Colvin drew just 15 walks in 2007.
"He's starting to show improvement at the plate and taking better swings. He's drawn more walks and cut down on his strikeouts," said Bailey.
Colvin is showing great enthusiasm and a great work ethic to the manager and coaches, and is in good spirits to be back into the "full swing" of things as soon as he's able. According to Bailey, talent is just one thing that Colvin seems to bring to the table.
"I think of all things, he was a first round pick and he's got a great attitude. A lot of guys come in thinking they're prima donnas and they believe they're above some folks and they don't really work as hard.
"But he works as hard as anybody and he's one of the best if not the best in the organization in (that) when every time he hits a ground ball, you know he's going to give you the same effort to first base no matter what. And you know if he hits a pop fly, he's going to be at second or third base."
Colvin Taking Strides
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