Iglesias draws accolades for defensive gem

Iglesias draws accolades for defensive gem

Iglesias draws accolades for defensive gem

CHICAGO -- Tigers catcher Brayan Pena, 31 years old and a nine-year Major League veteran, called shortstop Jose Iglesias' play in Monday's sixth inning the best he's ever seen.

It was a phenomenal play, no doubt, as Iglesias fielded a broken-back blooper off the bat of White Sox catcher Josh Phegley, barehanded it and threw to first in one motion while falling to the ground.

It wasn't only Pena who thought it was the best he's ever seen. Tigers manager Jim Leyland -- in his 49th season of professional baseball -- did too.

"The play he made last night was as good a play at shortstop as I've ever seen," Leyland said Tuesday. "I just don't know how he made that play. I've never seen a better play. I'm sure I've seen some just as good somewhere along the line, but off the top of my head, that's as good as I've ever seen."

Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter -- who called it the best play he's seen live -- heaped more praise on Iglesias on Monday night. Hunter said the quickness in which Iglesias gets the ball out of his glove ranks among the best his seen -- including Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar.

Although Leyland wouldn't yet rank Iglesias in that regard, he said he's thrilled with the young shortstop.

"He's a very instinctive guy. He smells the ball," Leyland said. "And he's a tough at-bat, too. He's going to have some moments, but he grinds out that at-bat real good. I really, really like him. He's a special talent."

Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.