Middle infielders are weird. Shortstops and second basement share a no-mans land in the field, positioned between bases in the hopes of fielding a ground ball up the middle. They both tend to be (at least until recently, see Chase Utley, Robinson Cano, and A-Rod in his younger days) light-hitting speedsters who are more able to get on base and advance runners than they are able to mash home runs. They both cover second base, and have to make and then communicate split-second decisions on double plays.
Baseball people will talk a lot about the bond between pitchers and catchers: the pitcher needs to trust that the catcher can handle any pitch and hold runners on, and the catcher has to understand the pitcher’ capabilities and limits, and also be an on-field psychologist for the pitcher. The bond between middle infielders is less-touted but definitely there: the defense would fall apart if there wasn’t some kind of connection.
Which brings us to last night’s Red Sox spring training game against Puerto Rico’s WBC team. The Sox won, John Lackey had a good night, and Will Middlebrooks and Mike Napoli each launched home runs. But, this is spring training: Napoli’s home run and a Charlie Card will get him on the T.
I thought Pete Abraham’s twitter feed was much more interesting. Abraham, a reporter for the Boston Globe, captured an awesome reunion between Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia an Mike Aviles, Boston’s former shortstop who had suited up for Puerto Rico. Apparently, their reunion was a happy one, punctuated with some predictable Pedroia height jokes: