Willians Astudillo used some subtlety at third base to pull off the elusive hidden-ball trick
You remember Willians Astudillo, don't you? The Twins player who basically never strikes out and also caught the eyes of many fans in Spring Training with a no-look pickoff from behind the plate? He's only appeared in seven games in the Majors, but he already has a strong cult following.
Astudillo's unusual reputation is only going to grow after Wednesday night. His Rochester Red Wings came from behind to beat the Toledo Mud Hens, 6-4, and while Astudillo went hitless, he stole the show on defense in the third inning.
Mikie Mahtook had just plated a run with a sacrifice fly, moving Dawel Lugo to third in the process. As the ball returned to the infield, Astudillo called for it at third base. He had a trick up his sleeve:
As Warwick Saupold stood off the mound, Lugo began to take his lead. He had no idea that Astudillo was in control of the ball all along.
That kind of chicanery deserves a second look:
It was outstanding work by Astudillo, but perhaps the craziest part is that this wasn't even the Red Wings' first hidden-ball trick this season. Another third baseman, Jermaine Curtis, did the same thing back in April:
Memo to International League players: Keep your eyes open when the Red Wings are on defense. There may be some shenanigans afoot.