|The Catch, May 15, 2012|
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Sellers on the Defensive
It’s easy to pick on Justin Sellers. He’s the starting shortstop right now because he can pick it. He’s a defensive specialist essentially. The Dodger brass made a decision that his “D” at short outweighed the potential offense that Juan Uribe would bring if he was starting at third. How many of us would argue that point after the two years we have witnessed Uribe hitting below the Mendoza line?
The errors Sellers made tonight were on tough plays. They were do or die quick throws. Sure he should have made them, but it didn’t happen. The first one should have been ruled a hit in my opinion. Had Sellers made both of those plays, we would have been raving about how great they were.
It has been a rough 11 months for Sellers. Few seem to remember that he sacrificed his career by catching a foul ball going full bore into the stands last season. It was a clutch 9th inning grab that saved a game. It also cost him a season and nearly his career. The injury eventually forced him to undergo back surgery.
Then there was the West Sacramento arrest for reckless motorcycle riding and evading the police. I, (and many others), was highly critical of Sellers for that episode and figured his days as a Dodger were done. But then when I read his version of events weeks later, it seems that there was a misunderstanding and that the arrest didn’t quite go down as it was reported on the news.
By mid-March, Justin Sellers was about as deep on the shortstop depth chart as they come. Behind Ramirez, Cruz, Gordon, Punto, and probably even Hairston. He was relegated back to minor league camp and probably on his way to a full season in Albuquerque. But then something happened aside from the Hanley Ramirez injury. Sellers played his tail off.
His grit and hustle convinced Dodger management to put him at short on the opening day roster.
Today there will be those calling for his head. It’s an emotional knee jerk reaction that we should soon get over. Sellers handled the critical questions from the post game the press corps with dignity, accepting responsibility for his mistakes. They were physical errors of enthusiasm. It wasn’t as if he failed to run out a ground ball.