Cubs appreciate Denorfia's highlight-reel catch

Despite resulting gash in knee, left fielder happy to 'lay it all out there'

Cubs appreciate Denorfia's highlight-reel catch

CINCINNATI -- Cubs outfielder Chris Denorfia had a nice cut on his right knee and appreciation from his teammates as souvenirs from his diving catch on Thursday night at PNC Park.

Denorfia robbed the Pirates' Andrew Lambo of an extra-base hit with his catch for the second out in the first inning. He landed on the warning track, which caused the gash in his knee.

"I got a good jump," Denorfia said Friday. "Obviously, they had me in perfect position to get a good read on that one. I saw it off the bat and turned and ran for it. There's plenty of room back there, so you almost don't have to worry about running into the wall. I knew I could give it a dive."

But didn't it hurt when he landed on the warning track?

"It hurts," Denorfia said. "Warning tracks are never fun to dive on. It's usually hard dirt with some rocks on it. That's the kind of stuff I play the game for. It's the stuff you do when you're a kid, and it's fun.

"I know the guys love it, especially when you just play for your team and lay it all out there," he said. "I learned from some pretty crazy great players. With my time [in Cincinnati], Ryan Freel was one of them. He was a guy who would run through a wall for you. When you come up looking up to guys like that, it's just fun to play the game."

When the inning ended, Denorfia was greeted by everyone in the dugout.

"That's a tough left field to play," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of PNC Park. "If you're going to have your best defender, it might be in left field in that ballpark. To go the way he did and be able to time his jump and come up successfully, it was a brilliant play."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.