Leyland praises Fielder's choice on Saturday

Leyland praises Fielder's choice on Saturday

MINNEAPOLIS -- Justin Verlander's seven-plus innings of dominant pitching and home runs from Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera played a huge role in Saturday's 6-4 win over the Twins. However, manager Jim Leyland cited Prince Fielder's throw to third to get the lead runner on Jamey Carroll's sacrifice attempt as one of the biggest plays of the game.

The throw across the infield erased Trevor Plouffe following his leadoff double and prevented a potential RBI situation. It also provided an example of how Fielder's decision-making on defense sometimes gets overlooked.

Fielder leads all American League first basemen with 11 errors, but he also leads them in assists and putouts. One factor in that is more opportunities, because he plays so many more games than most first basemen. Part, though, is awareness.

"He was cheating up for him because he might push a bunt," Leyland said. "We caught a lucky break, because he happened to hit it right to him. When he caught it, he was in a position to throw. It was a great play.

"You know, Prince Fielder is a very instinctive player. Nobody made a big deal about that play [Wednesday] to hustle to get to second base. This guy's a smart player. He's a pretty instinctive player. It's been impressive. He's sharp."