Saladino's inside-the-park HR makes history

Infielder first Brewer to achieve feat as pinch-hitter

May 15th, 2018

PHOENIX -- It's been less than a week since donned a Brewers uniform for the first time, and he's already made franchise history.

Saladino circled the bases in the ninth inning of Monday's 7-2 win over the D-backs for the first inside-the-park home run by a pinch-hitter in Brewers history. It was good for the final two runs of a three-run insurance rally, which was critical since it meant closer could rest in the bottom of the ninth in favor of another Brewers reliever, .

None of that was on Saladino's mind, of course, when he saw the baseball bounce past D-backs center fielder A.J. Pollock. All Saladino was thinking was, "Go."

"It's a good feeling, yeah," Saladino said. "Then it's time to kick it in gear at the same time. Everything you've got. Turn it on. It doesn't happen very often, so you have to dig a little deeper than normal."

When he saw third base coach Ed Sedar waving him home, did Saladino think, "Oh yes?" Or, "Oh no?"

"A little bit of both," he said with a smile. "There's no way to get ready for that. Just, everything you've got."

For the 28th inside-the-park home run in Brewers history, Saladino made the circuit in 15.53 seconds with a sprint speed of 28.2 feet per second, according to Statcast™, better than the Major League average of 27 feet per second. He beat the Brewers' previous inside-the-park home run, by last June 17, by one hundredth of a second.

Since Statcast™ began measuring, the only faster home-to-home time was speedster 's 15.01 seconds on a triple and an error on May 2015.

It was Saladino's first home run in the Major Leagues since 2016, and his first of the inside-the-park variety. He remembered one in summer ball as an amateur, but believed that Monday's was his first as a professional.

"It's huge from a personal standpoint to be able to actually get in there and barrel the ball up like that," Saladino said. "A lot of it is a testament to this organization."

That's because the Brewers gave Saladino some things to work on after purchasing his rights from the White Sox last month and sending Saladino to Triple-A Colorado Springs. He slashed .295/.392/.432 there in 51 plate appearances before a promotion to Milwaukee last Wednesday.

"They helped me address the things I needed to address and just get back into being a competitive player at the plate," Saladino said.

He is 4-for-8 to begin his Brewers career including a single and a double in his first start on Sunday at Coors Field, where Saladino contributed to right-hander 's memorable debut by playing a stellar shortstop.

"It seems like six of the eight times he's gone up there, he's hit the ball right on the screws," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He's doing a nice job. He's made a good impression as a defender. He's handled the pinch-hit role very well. So, very useful player. Very useful player."