Goodrum, Dixon shrug off unfortunate collision

August 14th, 2019

DETROIT -- and picked a good summer to be cord-cutters.

“I don't even watch [cable] TV,” Goodrum said Wednesday, a day after his collision with Dixon in left-center field turned Kyle Seager’s ninth-inning drive into his third home run of the night. “I have Apple TV that I have movies on.”

Dixon, too, is a movie buff, which insulated him from having to watch Tuesday’s dark comedy.

“If it's not on Netflix, I'm not going to see it,” Dixon said of the play. “Unless they put a blooper thing on Netflix, I'm not going to see it.”

Ten years from now, Dixon said, he might watch it and be able to laugh. For now, though, both he and Goodrum are better off learning from it, as well as from a similar mixup earlier in the game, and moving on.

“It was just a communication error, simple as that,” Dixon said. “There's no excuse besides that, other than we didn't communicate.”

Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire put it a different way.

“Last night we tried to make Superman plays,” said Gardenhire, repeating a no-no he has warned his team about all summer. “Guys were playing hard, but you have to know your surroundings.”

Neither Dixon nor Goodrum were in their usual surroundings Tuesday. With left-hander Yusei Kikuchi on the mound for the Mariners, and both Christin Stewart (concussion list) and JaCoby Jones (fractured left wrist) out, Gardenhire shuffled his defensive alignment to get another right-handed bat in the lineup with John Hicks at first base.

Dixon’s start in left field on Tuesday was his sixth of the season, his fourth since July 29. Goodrum’s start in center was his sixth of the season, but his first since May 23. Though they started in the corner outfield spots together once early in the season, they hadn’t started next to each other in a game.

“That's not really an excuse,” Dixon said. “He's got some games out there. I've had some games out there. For that to happen, it shouldn't happen, but it did.”

Still, it’s a trade-off much seen in the Tigers’ lineup these days. While they have many players who play several positions, infield and outfield, Detroit has few players working every day in one spot. Dixon has seen most of his time at first base and Goodrum was the Tigers' everyday shortstop for most of June before Jordy Mercer’s return put him on the move again.

Goodrum relishes the chance to play every day, regardless of position. That doesn’t mean it’s easy for him moving around.

“Do I want to play one position? Yeah, who doesn't?” Goodrum said. “You can get better every day doing something over and over again, the same thing. Moving around is difficult in itself. The game is difficult, and when you're moving around, it adds onto it. It is what it is.”

Center field at Comerica Park is particularly demanding, given the huge outfield gaps to cover. That made the speedy, instinctive Jones valuable beyond his numbers, and particularly hard to replace since his season-ending wrist injury.

Seager’s ninth-inning ball was a test of range and communication for both Goodrum and Dixon.

“That was a tough one, just because it's a play that you don't call, really, because you don't know if you're going to get there,” Dixon said. “And we both kind of got there at the same time.”

Said Goodrum: “I felt that was just my ball. When you're full speed like that, when you're calling a ball, you really can't hear anyone. It's just one of those things that happens.”

Goodrum had the clear chance at it. As the video shows, he had the ball for a split second before it popped out as he and Dixon neared a collision.

“I caught the ball,” Goodrum said. “I caught it and when we hit, it came out of the glove and over the fence.”

Neither Goodrum nor Dixon were in the outfield Wednesday night. Goodrum started at second base, his more frequent spot recently, with Harold Castro in center. Dixon was out of the starting lineup.

With Jones out for the season and no true center fielder on the roster, at least until rosters expand in September, Goodrum and Dixon could be paired together again. It’s on them to move on from it and build a rapport.

“Chemistry is part of winning -- team chemistry,” Goodrum said. “That's something that you have to build by playing with each other every day. We just have to keep building team chemistry, and it's a little bit difficult when you don't play the same position every day. That's something we have to figure out.”

Quick hits

• The Tigers officially rescinded the option of left-hander Blaine Hardy and put him on the 60-day injured list, ending his season. Hardy had been optioned to Triple-A Toledo last weekend before Dr. James Andrews examined his sore left elbow and recommended Hardy be shut down from throwing. He’ll undergo a platelet-rich plasma injection to aid healing in hopes of being at full strength for next spring.

• Stewart began a rehab assignment with Toledo on Wednesday as part of his progression through Major League Baseball’s concussion protocol. Stewart went 1-for-11 in three games with the Mud Hens last week before being called back for further testing.

• Grayson Greiner, out since mid-June with a lower back strain, began a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Lakeland on Wednesday. The Tigers hope to have him ready to return when rosters expand Sept. 1, giving them a third catcher for depth.