CLEVELAND − Guardians manager Terry Francona continues to be pleased with the hitting abilities of shortstop Amed Rosario.
Francona is also impressed with Rosario's work with his glove and arm, describing his defense as "consistent" and "dependable" following Saturday night's 4-1 win over the Houston Astros at Progressive Field.
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"He made some plays that were beyond the norm," Francona said. "He has been so consistent. Kid plays every day. Doesn't take a play off, doesn't take an at-bat off, when he is on the bases − he plays with so much energy. He is learning to leave his feet a little bit [and make an accurate throw to record an out]. He didn't do that when he first came here. He and Sarby [third base/infield coach Mike Sarbaugh] spent a lot of time together. The kid deserves a lot of credit."
Rosario ranged to his right in the eighth inning Saturday to glove a ground ball and then left his feet to throw to first baseman Josh Naylor to record an out. Naylor scooped the ball out of the dirt to finish off a play that prevented Astros center fielder Jake Meyers from getting his third hit of the game.
Guardians relief pitcher James Karinchak was fired up on the mound as he pointed towards Rosario and expressed his approval.
Rosario added a diving stop to his left on the second-base side of the infield in the ninth inning Saturday to make Guardians closer Emmanuel Clase a happy man. Rosario bounced up to his feet and fired a strike to Naylor to throw out Astros left fielder Yordan Alvarez.
Rosario reached on a fielder's choice, scored a run and hit a two-run single in the first two innings Saturday.
He went hitless in Sunday afternoon's 1-0 win over the Astros, but his impressive glove work continued in the third inning, to the delight of Guardians right-hander Triston McKenzie, who pitched eight scoreless innings. Rosario once again dove to his left, popped up to his feet and threw the ball to first baseman Owen Miller to get Astros shortstop Jeremy Pena out.
"He does it right," Francona said of Rosario. "He is a good example for everybody."
When asked why and how does Rosario play the way he does, Francona said: "Respect for the game. Pure enjoyment of being out there. It is something, especially in today's game, you don't always see it. I tell our guys 'I don't care what other teams do. I care about what our team does.'"
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Clase, Jose Ramirez and Andres Gimenez represented the Guardians in the All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium in July and helped the American League win.
All three were deserving of making the trip to Los Angeles, and Rosario is showing why he too could have been selected for the game.
Rosario entered Monday's off day with a .286 batting average in 102 games this season. He has 120 hits, 60 runs, seven home runs, 19 doubles, six triples and 44 RBI.
Rosario batted .282 last year with 155 hits, 77 runs, 11 home runs, 25 doubles, six triples and 57 RBI in 141 games after he and Gimenez came to Cleveland via the trade that sent Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco to the New York Mets.
"Regardless of any of the rumors, I think his numbers speak for themselves," Guardians right-hander Cal Quantrill said Saturday after pitching six scoreless innings.
"No matter how many people try and tell him he is not a shortstop, he continues to prove that he is our shortstop. His hitting, his fielding − I feel extremely confident with Rosario playing shortstop. I don't know how much more praise I can give the guy. He runs hard every single day, shows up with a positive attitude and he rakes. He is a great player."
Rosario has hit safely in 22 of his past 28 games since July 8, with 38 hits, seven doubles, one triple, four home runs and 20 RBI. He delivered a game-winning RBI single on Aug. 1 that scored Will Benson to top the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-5.
Rosario said through interpreter Agustin Rivero that "preparation" has helped him succeed and that his primary goal is to "help the team win."
Guardians center fielder Myles Straw respects Rosario for how he always plays hard, and continues to hit line drives and flash the leather.
"He has made some amazing plays," Straw said. "That play in the six hole and then the one up the middle [on Saturday], not every shortstop in the big leagues are going to make both those plays. Credit to him. He has been working this whole year and that is what happens when you work on something, you improve. He has been one of the best this year."
Michael Beaven can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Beaven on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ.
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Amed Rosario continues to star at shortstop for the Guardians