{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

{"event":["spring_training" ] }

Gator Hunter? Torii talks about close encounter

|
Gator Hunter? Torii talks about close encounter play video for Gator Hunter? Torii talks about close encounter

LAKELAND, Fla. -- No, Torii Hunter didn't actually kiss an alligator. But he got close enough to make himself nervous.

"I didn't actually kiss it," Hunter said Wednesday morning. "I was on the backside of it. I'm definitely afraid, and my wife wouldn't kiss me after that. What if he broke loose and bit my nose off? Noseless Torii."

He also got closer than Miguel Cabrera was ever willing to get when teammates presented him with the alligator during the team's regular morning meeting Tuesday.

"It was cool. We had some fun. I was scared. That's my fear. I had never touched a gator. That was my fear and I overcame it. I got close, right in his face, and touched him in the eyeballs and everything."

The setup revolved around manager Brad Ausmus' well-chronicled 9:30 a.m. meetings. Sometimes, players are sent out on projects around the area. Drew VerHagen, for instance, had to go to the circus across the street early in camp and interview some of the performers. In this case, Hunter said, Daniel Fields, Ramon Cabrera and others were sent to Gatorland in nearby Kissimmee.

"They all went to Gatorland and did a little skit," Hunter said. "They had a video and they were talking with a mic and just kind of walking around and talking to people and touching different animals and different reptiles. Then they showed it in here. At the end of it, the lights came on and they brought a FedEx package to Miguel Cabrera and it was a gator.

"Miguel started running around the clubhouse. He was running, and they were trying to give him the package. We just all took pictures of it and [Justin] Verlander said, 'I dare you to kiss it.'"

It was not a small gator, either. Hunter estimated it to be four or five feet long.

The gator presumably went back to Gatorland, though Hunter has no idea where it came from or where it's going.

"Probably some boots," Hunter said. "It's probably boots right now."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"event":["spring_training" ] }
{"event":["spring_training" ] }
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español