“Let’s be ready for the triple play,” Ian Kinsler told rookie infielder Jeimer Candelario on Friday. “Let’s do the triple play.” In the sixth inning of Friday’s 5-4 squeaker over the Blue Jays, with runners on first and second, the Tigers finally got their chance. Kevin Pillar smoked a ball to the third-base line, catching Candelario square in the mitt as he retired Justin Smoak and fired the ball to Ian Kinsler at second. Kinsler gloved the ball ahead of Kendrys Morales, then airmailed it to Efren Navarro to catch Pillar seconds before he touched the first base bag.
While the feat was a first for infielders Candelario and Navarro, it was the second such play for Ian Kinsler. The first, strangely enough, was a 4-6-6 maneuver against the Tigers in 2009.
The Tigers hadn’t turned a triple play in 16 years, when Damion Easley, Deivi Cruz and Shane Halter executed a 4-6-3 versus the visiting 2001 Mariners. On Friday, their timing couldn’t have been better, as the Blue Jays came within a run of tying the game after Kendrys Morales’ RBI single in the sixth. Richard Urena and Jose Bautista added a pair of homers in the eighth inning, but Ian Kinsler’s seventh-inning solo shot ended up being the only lead Detroit needed for their 60th win of the season.
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.