In many ways, the most impressive part of Ordonez's game-saving catch Monday was the closing speed he showed to catch up to Derek Jeter's slicing fly ball, not the slide to get his glove under the ball. While he has never liked to try to dive for a ball, he has slid for balls several times over the years. He hasn't always gotten them, but he has more sliding catches than a lot of Tigers outfielders since he came to Detroit in 2005.
For him, it's a comfort thing.
"It's just natural," Ordonez said Wednesday morning. "When you dive, it's hard on your body."
That's usually the reason for most players who are reluctant to dive, outfield coach Tom Brookens said. Plus, it's a good option for corner outfielders trying to make catches down the foul lines or in foul territory as they close in on the outfield stands.
In a lot of cases, most players can keep running and make a catch standing up, Brookens said, but he wants players going with what makes them comfortable. As he pointed out, they don't exactly practice diving or sliding for catches.
"Down through the years, [Ordonez is] just more comfortable doing that little slide as opposed to a dive," Brookens said. "That's, more than anything, a personal preference. I don't have a problem with it. The only thing I talk to them [about] is if you don't have to slide, don't do it. But it's an athletic move when the situation arises."