Rojas' robbery of Tatis wins Play of the Week
Josh Rojas turned in one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dreary 12-3 loss to the Padres on Wednesday night when the D-backs right fielder robbed Fernando Tatis Jr. of an eighth-inning homer. His high-flying catch was rewarded with the first Play of the Week honor of his career, and it's the first time a D-backs player has won the award since its inception in 2019.
Rojas did it all with his eyes closed, apparently, even though he swears they were open.
When the ball left Tatis' bat, Rojas knew that it was hit well, but he thought he might have a play on it. He turned to his right, and the ball sliced a bit. Rojas then turned to his left and felt the warning track under his feet.
"I just knew I was close to the wall, and I knew that I could jump and catch it from where I was at," Rojas said. "So I didn't want to get too close to the wall and get hung up. So I just jumped from where I was and then once I caught it and hit the wall, that's when I realized it was actually going to be a homer. But off the bat and even tracking it down, I didn't know if it was going to be gone for sure or not."
Rojas took a look at the replay after the game, and there's a photo of the play that shows that Rojas' eyes appeared to be closed as he leaped against the wall.
"My eyes are closed -- that kind of stinks," Rojas said. "I swear I saw it the whole way, but I guess I closed my eyes when I hit the wall."
Rojas started in right field because the D-backs placed Kole Calhoun on the injured list before the game. Calhoun joined fellow outfielders Ketel Marte and Tim Locastro on the IL.
The D-backs have used Pavin Smith, a first baseman until he played some corner outfield last year, in center field, and they have used Rojas, Wyatt Mathisen and Josh VanMeter -- all infielders by trade -- at various times on the corners.
"A lot of guys that are doing their part, no matter where that's at," Rojas said.
Rojas said it's possible he may have robbed a player of a home run while playing left field at one point in Triple-A, but it was difficult for him to recall.
When Rojas was a kid, he and his friends would throw balls to each other near a wall and practice robbing home runs. While it looks easy, he knows it's not.
So here's his advice to young outfielders out there:
"I think just timing it, not getting too close to the wall, giving yourself some space," he said. "And, I guess, close your eyes. I didn't know that my eyes closed."