Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Moises Sierra has a fine throwing arm, but he is new to the majors, called up from Class AAA Las Vegas on July 31. So surprise, surprise, he needs some refining.
Ever since he was promoted, there seems to have been an obsession with the raw skills of the 23-year-old outfielder. Sure, his throws have been erratic at times, but it's not as if there haven't been, or aren't now, erratic outfield arms on the Toronto roster. You don't see that many good throws from center fielder Colby Rasmus, for instance, but there aren't many comments about them.
All Sierra needs is a little time and work. During homestands, first base coach Torey Lovullo works with the outfielders on their throws, and Friday afternoon was one of those days. They usually do the work on the second day of a homestand and the second to last day.
Sierra's problem was that he would pay too much attention to the runner and where he was. What he needs to do is field the ball as quickly as possible and then get rid of it right away with a throw that can be cut off.
He came through Friday in the ninth inning of the Blue Jays' 2-1 win over Tampa Bay. Rays pinch hitter Carlos Pena hit a two-out single to right. Sierra fielded the ball on the hop and fired home to catcher Jeff Mathis, who blocked the plate to get pinch runner Elliot Johnson for the game's final out.
"It was just fine-tuning," Lovullo said of Friday afternoon's work. "He was probably trying to throw the ball too hard and too aggressively. Just to get himself under control a little bit. It's been a work in progress for the last couple of weeks, and we've seen glimpses of it, but it all came together in one great moment. He did that tonight. He got himself under control. It all came together."
After the outfielders worked in the afternoon, they put it into practice in Friday's game -- and how.
Left fielder Rajai Davis threw out a runner at home in the second inning, long before Sierra's big moment.
Not only that, Sierra hit a home run to tie the game in the third. Not bad for someone who is being tagged as erratic.