Leyland on VMart being sent Wednesday night: 'Just a good, old-fashioned brain cramp'
When the Tigers’ new third-base coach for this season, Tom Brookens, saw Johnny Peralta’s two-out third-inning single shoot into right field Wednesday night, he instantly began waving home the runner at second base.
Good idea, normally.
“I think he just had that ‘base hit, I’m going to make him throw him out with two outs‘ — which is what you normally do, what I want him to do — but just had the wrong guy,” manager Jim Leyland said Thursday morning. “That’s probably what you call a good, old-fashioned brain cramp.
“I think what happened to him — which I understand — I think he just got in that ‘two out, make him throw him out’ mode, and forgot that it was Victor.”
Yep. The runner at second at the time was Victor Martinez, who was never a speed demon, even BEFORE he had microfracture surgery on his knee last year.
And the right fielder was Kansas City’s Jeff Francoeur, who led the majors in outfield assists last season.
Even Peralta can tell you running on Francoeur’s arm is silly.
The ball reached home approximately 45 minutes before Martinez did (slight exaggeration).
“It was really a blessing; the best part about it was, he was out by so (bleeping) far, that there wasn’t going to be a collision or anything,” Leyland said.
Indeed, rather than try to dislodge the ball, Martinez — himself a former catcher — avoided the collision by merely peeling off toward the dugout (see picture above) and conceding the inning’s final out.
“He did absolutely the right thing. It’s one of those things, as a third-base coach, normally you’re saying with two outs, take a chance. If he throws it off-line, Victor scores. Francouer’s a great thrower, he’s very accurate, so there’s a good chance he was going to be out,” Leyland said. “But there’s no sense in any kind of collision or anything, no. Just tag him, and get it over with.”
And Martinez wasn’t going to put his health in jeopardy for a low percentage chance that he’d be able to score anyway.
“Trust me, it was a really long year for me last year, so I wouldn’t do anything stupid. If I’m out, I’m out. If I’m safe, I’m safe,” said Martinez, who didn’t know how far out he would be until he saw the ball arrive. “Not right away. I saw the catcher get the ball and I was almost halfway to get to the plate. There’s no reason to run over the catcher. No reason to try and do anything stupid. I want to keep playing baseball.”