Tigers do drills to avoid collisions like Monday's that cost the Astros Altuve
It was one of those plays that you can see coming, in sickening slow motion.
And there’s nothing you can do to stop it.
Chasing a shallow pop fly off the bat of Jhonny Peralta in Monday’s game, Houston second baseman Jose Altuve collided face-first with right fielder Jimmy Paredes.
“You could see it coming. Where I sit there, I’m looking straight at it,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “Just prior to it happening, (bench coach Gene Lamont) said, ‘They’re going to run into each other.’ Sure enough, they did.”
The ball, sandwiched between the two, fell harmlessly to the ground.
“I couldn’t listen to him when he called for the ball," Altuve told MLB.com. “I think we were calling (for it at) the same time. You know, that happens, but I think we’re going to be OK.”
Altuve fell to the ground, too — not so harmlessly, though — going down like a ton of bricks. He lay motionless for a while, before being helped up and off the field.
The Astros’ All-Star second baseman exited the game with a subluxation — or partial dislocation — of the right jaw. While he said afterward he’d probably be OK to play Tuesday, Altuve ended up being placed on the Bereavement List following the death of his grandmother, and will miss between three and seven days.
It’s hardly uncommon for that type of play to happen, but teams try to minimize the chances, anyway.
“We work on that drill in spring training. We call it the pop-up drill. We actually shoot the ball up between the infielders and outfielders, and make them work on that play. We usually tell the outfielders, ‘Take charge, unless ...’ The general rule of thumb on that — and they couldn’t help it on that one, because he was running after it. Normally you see the infielder, and we have it that, if he knows he’s got it, he uses his hands (waves), and yells, and hopefully the center fielder, or whoever it is, hears it,” Leyland said.
“But that was one of those in-between ones that you can’t help. Just one of those freak things that happen now and then.”