TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays are set to bring Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson back into the fold. Henderson will be announced as the Blue Jays’ first-ever sliding coach after Tuesday’s matinee against the Braves, NotGraphs has learned.
The move’s being applauded in baseball circles, both for its outside-the-box thinking, and because the Blue Jays clearly don’t know how to slide, especially into second base. Rickey Henderson does.
“Rickey’s going to teach these fools how to swipe a bag without spraining an ankle,” Henderson said, when NotGraphs caught up with him at breakfast Tuesday morning.
“Rickey’s embarrassed, to be honest with you. First Reyes, now Lawrie. Who’s next? Bautista? It’s Rickey’s job to make sure nobody else goes down.”
Jose Reyes, one of Toronto’s many – and arguably the most – prized offseason acquisitions, was injured in only his tenth game of the season, when he slid awkwardly into second base in Kansas City on April 12. A severely sprained ankle will keep him out of the lineup until mid-to-late June.
“Rickey never wants to see Reyes crying on the field after stealing a bag again,” a determined Henderson said. “Ever.”
On Monday night, it was Brett Lawrie’s turn to slide awkwardly into second base on a steal attempt, and did he ever. Lawrie, safe on the play, left the game with a sprained ankle. He isn’t in Tuesday’s lineup, and will likely be placed on the disabled list. Again.
The Blue Jays, having already dug themselves a massive hole in the American League East, can’t afford to lose any more players to ankle injuries caused by horrendous slides. And Henderson’s promised to make sure that Lawrie’s pitiful slide was Toronto’s last pitiful slide.
“Like Rickey said, Rickey’s embarrassed. It’s not going to happen again on Rickey’s watch. Rickey guarantees it.”
Image credit: Nathan Denette, AP/The Canadian Press.
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