To field or not to field? Pitchers amuse Hurdle
CINCINNATI -- Friday night in Milwaukee, Bryan Morris gave his manager the shakes. The righty reliever pounced on a swinging bunt by Ryan Braun between the mound and third base with, yes, Morris-the-cat-like quickness and whirled for an off-balance throw to first that was on target but a tick late.
Clint Hurdle would rather not have his pitchers try that body-challenging maneuver, instead making way for in-charging third baseman Pedro Alvarez.
"Puts them in peril," Hurdle reasoned. "Just trying to keep them healthy."
The manager thus made a point of asking his pitchers to, please, don't make like a pretzel.
"I strategically went down to all the starters and told them I'd prefer if they didn't attempt to make that play," related Hurdle, already grinning broadly. "[Edinson] Volquez says, 'Coach' -- he calls me coach -- 'Coach, I think I can make that play.' Charlie [Morton] says, 'I don't know, if I get there and have a shot, I might have to.'"
Of course there is a punch line: Volquez on Saturday and Morton on Sunday had, and made, the identical play on bunts by Scooter Gennett and Martin Maldonado, respectively.
"Crazy," Hurdle said. "I'm just sitting there [in the dugout] laughing, because you can't make that stuff up."
He should be able to relax Monday night. Wandy Rodriguez, the night's pitcher, had a different reaction to the manager's plea:
"I'll let it roll. Pedro's got to make that play."