Rojas again comes to rescue for Kershaw, Dodgers
Infielder's stellar play behind second-base bag in seventh helps preserve shutout
KANSAS CITY -- After saving Clayton Kershaw's no-hitter and shutout last week against Colorado with his glove and arm at third base, Dodgers infielder Miguel Rojas on Tuesday night saved another shutout and a Kershaw win against Kansas City with his defense at second base.
Again it was the seventh inning. Last week it was Troy Tulowitzki's sharp bouncer behind the third-base bag. This time it was Alcides Escobar's bouncer up the middle with two outs and runners on the corners. Again Rojas ranged to his right, fielded the ball behind second base and made an awkward but accurate throw to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to end the threat.
"That's the thing that put Miggy on the map for us," manager Don Mattingly said of Rojas, a journeyman defender who spent nine years in the Minor Leagues, mostly with Cincinnati, until his callup earlier this month. "He can play all over the infield and his improvement at the plate [.265] shows how hard he's worked."
Rojas -- starting at second base to give Dee Gordon a night off -- said friends and family in Venezuela are puzzled why he's playing two infield positions he almost never has played, being known strictly as a Omar Vizquel-caliber shortstop in his homeland.
"Everybody there is excited about me being in the Major Leagues, but they all ask me, 'Why are you playing third?'" said Rojas. "I explain that I'm not an everyday player yet and I have to cover all the positions. This is my job.
"I'm just trying to be good so I can be around longer. I know the pitchers want me behind them to make plays like that. Kershaw is always dealing for us and somebody has to be behind him to make the plays. That ball tonight wasn't hit hard, but it was a tough play. The pitcher works so hard and he deserves to get an out. If we don't get the out, the runner scores."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.