DETROIT — With each passing game that features a smattering of highlight-reel plays in the field, it’s easy to see how Mariner Chris Taylor has grabbed the starting shortstop position in just a few weeks.
He was always considered a better overall defensive shortstop than Brad Miller and Nick Franklin when the trio was coming up through the Mariners’ minor-league system.
But there are a few mistakes to remind you that despite his solid fundamentals and good defensive instincts, Taylor is still a rookie. He was playing in his 18th major-league game Saturday night in Detroit.
Mariners’ fans got to see both his rookie status and his natural instincts during Friday night’s win over the Tigers. In the first inning, Taylor booted a routine ground ball from Victor Martinez to put runners on the corners with two outs.
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But he was unfazed, fielding Torii Hunter’s ground ball up the middle moments later and flipping it from his glove to Robinson Cano at second to end the inning. Manager Lloyd McClendon joked postgame that he had to pick himself up off the floor in disbelief.
On Saturday, McClendon was more philosophical.
“Even with the error last night, he never really let it affect him,” McClendon said. “The next play he just flips it over. It just kind of shows you the confidence this kid possesses. He has a passion for playing defense.”
Taylor wasn’t sure how or why he did the glove flip.
“I don’t think it had anything to do with (the error),” he said. “I’ve never really done that before. It kind of just happened. I’ve been doing it a little bit in BP. I don’t have an explanation for it.”
Two innings later, Taylor produced another a jaw-dropping play, making a brilliant diving stop on Martinez’s ground ball in shallow left field and firing to first, short-hopping Logan Morrison, who made the catch to complete the play.
“I knew it was hit hard enough to where I had a shot at first,” Taylor said. “I ended up giving Lo Mo an in-between hop, and he made a great play just to keep it in front. But he actually made the play and got the out. He saved me a couple of times tonight.”
McClendon knows that he will get those types of plays to go with a few errors. It’s expected for rookies. You won’t see him overreact to either.
“I probably look at errors a lot different than a lot of people,” McClendon said. “I wasn’t much of a defensive player. They happen. People can say they’re a lack of concentration. But I don’t always believe that. I think they just happen. When you make a physical error where you are trying to make a play, it doesn’t bother me. And you’ll rarely see a reaction from me.”
Cano’s foot is ‘fine’
Robinson Cano was in the lineup as usual, batting third and playing second. He left Friday’s game in the eighth inning with a sore right foot. He fouled a pitch off the instep of the foot during the game and was lifted with the Mariners up four runs.
“As far as I know he’s fine,” McClendon said pregame. “I haven’t heard anything different from the trainers. There shouldn’t be any setbacks.”
Cano received treatment for the foot, but was walking normally.
“It’s fine,” he said. “I’m fine. It’s all good.”
So did it hurt?
“Well, it didn’t feel good,” he said.