Mike Matheny played 13 seasons in the majors and was a manager for ten years, the last three with the Royals.
in that time Matheny has seen many sensational defensive plays but few have rivaled one made on Saturday by Royals rookie shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. in the sixth inning of KC’s 9-7 loss to Oakland at Kauffman Stadium.
A’s rookie infielder Jonah Bride grounded into the gap between shortstop and third base. At first it looked like the ball might roll into left field, but Witt put a glove on it, jumped and let the ball fly.
MLB.com said Witt unleashed a throw of 75.6 mph to bring in Bride after a fine scoop by first baseman Carlos Santana.
“That was one of the best plays I’ve seen. I’m just amazed at the way Bobby is carried from different angles and that he has no legs under him at all,” Matheny said. “It was a nice play on the back of Carlos to pick the short hop.
“But the carry (Witt) gets, the ball off the bat, I didn’t think he’d get there in the first place, and then be able to get off the throw, and then put so much on it, is very unique.”
Witt didn’t care much about the game after the game.
“It’s kind of those reactionary plays that just happen. You’ll do it sometimes if you’re messing around during BP or something,” Witt said matter-of-factly. “It’s kind of those fun reactionary plays.
“And luckily it happened. So I just watched it go to my right side, picked it up and just jumped a little bit to help with timing and just get a little more on the throw. †
Catcher Cam Gallagher had a great view of the play and was impressed with what he saw.
“That was quite remarkable. I didn’t even think he had a chance to get the ball let alone make the game and finish and get out,” Gallagher said. “Show me what a special talent he is. He flies around the field and does things offensively and defensively on the basic paths.
“He’s an electric player, so it’s cool to see him doing his thing.”
Witt also hit his 11th homerun of the season on Saturday, a solo shot in the third inning. It is shared for the team leader in that category.
Starting pitcher Brad Keller notices that Witt is getting used to life in the big leagues.
“You see him getting into himself a little bit every day now. He’s getting more and more comfortable every time he goes out,” Keller said. “It’s a lot of fun to watch and I’m excited to continue to follow his progression and see how he is the stallion he is.”