Pirates rookie uses sweet swim move to evade pickoff

August 8th, 2023

PITTSBURGH -- Endy Rodríguez was hung out to dry on a pickoff attempt at first base. Or so he’d have you believe.

Instead, the Pirates’ rookie catcher made a sensational dive and roll back to the base, using his Matrix-like moves to get under the tag of Matt Olson during the third inning of the Bucs’ 7-6 win over the Braves on Monday night at PNC Park.

Per Statcast, Rodríguez’s primary lead was 21 feet -- well beyond the point of comfort for many baserunners. But when you’ve got sweet swim moves like Rodriguez's, what’s the harm? The yellow sliding glove on his right hand nearly acted as a decoy, as he pulled it back to his body short of the bag while reaching around with his left while on his back.

“I don’t know how much swimming Endy has done in his life, but he did a heck of a job on the swim move there,” manager Derek Shelton said.

Not only was it impressive, but Rodríguez’s recovery was much needed. Had he been picked off, it would have been the third out of the inning and cut the Pirates’ rally vs. Spencer Strider to just three runs. Instead, he scored the sixth and final run charged to Strider right after the Braves’ ace was chased from the game after 2 2/3 innings.

“I’ve got to be safe, because I don’t want to stop the rally,” Rodríguez said. “I don’t want to be that guy.”