You know you made a bad play when your manager has to confirm to reporters that you are healthy after the game.
Such was the case for New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who made an embarrassing out during his team's 3-1 win over the Houston Astros on Saturday. After a two-out double in the third inning, Stanton appeared set to break a 1-1 tie when D.J. LeMahieu hit a single to right-center field.
Astros center fielder Mauricio Dubon made a good play, though, grabbing the ball on the rise after one bounce and unleashing a powerful throw to home. Stanton still should've had the advantage, but Dubon's throw beat him home by several feet.
The resulting out ended the inning for the Yankees.
Subsequent replay was not kind to Stanton. He clearly started running on contact, but his pace on the basepaths could be best described a jogging. The 6-foot-6, 245-pounder has never been known as a speed demon, but this was another level of slow.
The good news is Stanton's out cost the Yankees a run but not the win. A strong return from Nestor Cortes (four innings pitched, one earned run) and five shutout innings by the Yankees bullpen were enough to spoil Justin Verlander's return to the Astros after his blockbuster trade from the New York Mets.
Still, Yankees manager Aaron Boone had to address the play after the game. When asked if he agreed with the decision to send Stanton, who missed an early part of the season due to a left hamstring strain, and if the player is healthy, Boone answered in the affirmative to both. He also suggested that Stanton's route around third base was the issue:
“G is good, I just didn’t think he got a great round on third and got a little careful over there. Look, ball, two outs, hit in the gap like that, I think you've got to take your chances.
“I’d have to look at it. Sometimes, if he gets going in the right direction, he’s got more than that. Sometimes if it’s not an efficient route, he’s going to protect a little bit. But yeah, he’s good. He’s healthy. Just make sure he doesn't do something that throws him off.
In the long run, one lost run isn't going to sink Stanton or the Yankees. However, it was a bad moment — and, more importantly, an avoidable bad moment — in a second-straight rough season for Stanton, who is currently hitting .212/.287/.477 with 17 homers in 247 plate appearances.