Practice pays off on Iglesias' over-the-shoulder catch

Shortstop makes big grab in ninth inning

Practice pays off on Iglesias' over-the-shoulder catch

DETROIT -- Jose Iglesias practices over-the-shoulder catches, so that he's ready for plays like the one he made on Sunday, even if no one else is.

"I've seen him practice that play," his double-play partner, Ian Kinsler, maintained after Iglesias' ninth-inning grab in Sunday's 8-6 win over the Indians. "He practices going over his head, going up and catching the ball, backwards like that. He works on it. If you see a guy work on stuff like that, you can't say much. And he caught it, so there's not much to say."

Iglesias confirmed as much.

"Sometimes," he said. "I mean, I don't really go up there and do it every single day, but it's just those plays that you just react to it. It's just like that."

Kinsler has already said enough about Iglesias that he's running out of words. Iglesias has made enough plays from deep in the hole that he's building an argument for a Gold Glove award at season's end. Sunday's play was different, because he ended up in left field to catch a fly ball he didn't see until the last possible second.

It was a high fly ball hit by Mike Aviles in a late-inning situation when the Tigers were playing a no-doubles defense. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes was playing deeper than normal, which gave him a long way to charge when the ball went up.

Cespedes showed off his speed, but he wasn't going to get here. Iglesias kept running for it and kept waiting for Cespedes to call him off, until he realized he was going to have to make a play.

"Even though Yoenis has great speed, he was playing back," Iglesias said. "We don't say much between each other, but I don't hear anything, so I just threw my glove in there and I was able to make a catch."

Asked what he saw of it, manager Brad Ausmus said, "I'd rather not see it again, quite frankly. I'd rather someone be camped out underneath it, but he's got some extraordinary skills and some of the best hands the game has seen."

In the process, Iglesias got the second out of the ninth inning and kept the potential tying run from reaching base. Whether or not it was his best play of the season, it was one of his most important, helping the Tigers hold on.

"I think every time you make a nice play to help your team, each and every one is important," Iglesias said. "It was fun. Every time you make a play for your team, it's fun."

That still didn't spare him from a little ribbing from Kinsler.

"I don't know what the heck he was doing," Kinsler joked. "All he had to do was turn around. Run a little harder and catch it over his head, like a normal player."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.