The error battle is heating up

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When Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon committed his seventh error on the very first play of the bottom of the first inning Saturday, Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro knew he’d have to step up his game. Sure enough, he committed his major league-high eighth in the fifth inning.

Here’s the up-to-the-minute leaderboard for errors:

Starlin Castro (SS ChC) – 8
Dee Gordon (SS LAD) – 7
Clint Barmes (SS Pit) – 6
Brandon Crawford (SS SFG) – 6
Evan Longoria (3B TB) – 6
Troy Tulowitzki (SS Col) – 6

NL shortstops have generally been far better than their AL counterparts on defense the last several years, but they’ve been a shaky bunch on the whole this season. The Padres’ Jason Bartlett and Marlins’ Jose Reyes are right behind the leaders with five errors already. The Angels’ Erick Aybar is the only AL shortstop with five errors.

Obviously, things are going to turn around here. Castro and Gordon will likely finish among the league leaders in errors, but Tulo and Barmes certainly shouldn’t. Tulowitzki, incredibly, has already matched his 2011 error total in 116 fewer games. He’s never committed more than 11 errors in a season. Barmes committed 12 errors in 122 games for Houston last year.

Miguel Sano gained weight this offseason

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Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:

Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.

They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.

Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.

Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.

So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.