Torii Hunter misses another chance at his first career cycle
Selflessness doesn’t help you achieve personal milestones.
If Torii Hunter had given in to that little selfish imp that sometimes sits on his shoulder, he might have been talking about his first career cycle after Wednesday’s game, rather than falling just shy for the second time this season.
“I’ve come close several times in my career. Every time I have a single to go or a double to go,” said Hunter, who had four hits, including two doubles, a home run and a single, on Wednesday. “If I need the single, I hit a double, another double or a homer. It just never works out. I had a chance in Cleveland and here this year, twice, and I didn’t capitalize on it. I suck.”
He had a chance to get the elusive triple to complete the cycle in his final at-bat Wednesday, lacing a shot to the right-field corner. It scored Ramon Santiago from second. But Alex Avila, on first at the time, obeyed the stop sign from third-base coach Tom Brookens, and put the brakes on at third base.
Hunter, who’d been digging hard for third, had to put on the brakes, as well, and was thrown out as he tried to scramble back to second.
“I felt really bad after. I really wasn’t, kind of the moment of the game I wasn’t. I wish I did, for sure. I would have definitely gotten thrown out but I wouldn’t have cared at that point. I felt really bad coming back in the dugout. When I saw him coming around, I stopped and I got to third, I was like, ‘oh, crap,’ ” Avila said.
“I was running hard. I couldn’t go any faster than that. I thought maybe I had a good enough jump off the ball because I knew Werth wasn’t going to be able to catch it so I was able to get a good jump, and I thought maybe I had a good enough jump to where I could score. As soon as I saw Brookie put the stop sign up, as fast as I was going, it’s not very hard to stop.”
For his part, manager Jim Leyland declared Brookens’ decision the right call (especially in a blowout game), but Hunter jokingly insisted he should have been selfish.
“It was very difficult, man. I was just going to keep going no matter what. I saw Avila slowing down before I even hit second base but I was like, forget that, I’m going to keep running and it didn’t work out. I knew Brookie couldn’t have known because he held him up early. I should have been selfish. It’s not in me, though,” Hunter laughed.
“I would have pushed Avila off the bag and I would have stayed on, pushed him off — ‘Tag him!’ He didn’t know either. Brookie didn’t know. What can you do? Hopefully I get another chance before I retire. In about 10 years.”