OAKLAND -- Hunter Renfroe submitted an early entry for the catch of the year on Opening Day, but he admitted he didn't even see the grab himself.
Renfroe made an unbelievable no-look catch in right field in the fifth inning of the Angels’ 2-1 loss to rob A's third baseman Jace Peterson of a sure leadoff hit, the wind pushing the ball away from Renfroe as he went back on it. Renfroe appeared to be in the wrong position to make the play, but he stuck his glove out high above his left shoulder and made the catch with his back to home plate.
“You mess around during BP making trick catches and things like that, but sometimes you gotta use it when the ball is doing crazy stuff in the outfield,” Renfroe said. “I’m glad I caught it. It’s not how you draw it up, but it is what it is.”
Renfroe wouldn’t call it the best catch of his career because of the route he took to make the play, though he did call it the weirdest catch of his career. It amazed Angels starter Shohei Ohtani -- no small feat, given how often he achieves jaw-dropping feats himself. Ohtani, who struck out 10 over six scoreless innings in a no-decision, put both arms up in the air to celebrate Renfroe’s catch.
“I thought it was going to be a hit, 100 percent,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “But he just kind of threw his glove out there. I was happy to see it.”
Center fielder Mike Trout said he couldn’t believe what he saw and had to watch the replay once he got back into the dugout.
“I’ve never seen anything like that from my view,” Trout said. “I don’t know what was going on. I saw the replay in the dugout. It was pretty incredible.”
Angels manager Phil Nevin was also impressed by the play and noted that the ball took an unusual turn due to the wind, as it would normally spin toward the foul line but was instead pushed into right-center field.
“It's not how we teach it,” Nevin said with a laugh. “But actually, I think what happened, the ball knuckled on him and just kind of took off that way. If you kind of look at that last camera angle, it just takes off and makes a left turn, which doesn’t happen from a left-handed hitter. It was a heck of a play.”