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Molina shows speed around basepaths vs. Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Jose Molina has developed a reputation around the league as one of the game's best defensive catchers. He also has a rap as one of the sport's slowest baserunners, but the veteran backstop had an impeccably good day on the basepaths in the Rays' 8-0 win over the Red Sox on Tuesday afternoon.

Molina reached base three times Tuesday, notching two hits and reaching base on a walk. But that wasn't the really surprising part: The 38-year-old scored from first base on a David DeJesus triple in the second inning, and he later doubled and scored from second base on a double in the fifth.

Molina, perhaps tiring of his questions about his speed, declined comment on Tuesday.

"Let's talk about something else," Molina said twice when asked about the subject.

But manager Joe Maddon was a little more forthcoming. Maddon took the question on head-first after the game, offering a candid and humorous evaluation of his catcher's baserunning skills.

"Typically good," said Maddon with a smile. "He didn't break stride scoring from first, which is definitely nice to see. And we're definitely playing in the right ballpark for that to occur. That can't happen just anywhere, so the people who were here today should really feel fortunate to see J-Mo score on a ball in the gap from first base. It's equally rare sometimes from second base."

Molina's primary responsibility, of course, is to guide the team's pitching staff, and he surely did his job in Tampa Bay's shutout victory over the Red Sox. That skill can be a little subtle for the average fan to appreciate, though, and Maddon enjoyed seeing his catcher round the bases.

"He stayed nice, a great slide into second base," Maddon said of Molina's double. "He definitely needed the bag to slow down the momentum on the slide. It was really well done."

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for
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