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Travis Hafner stole a base and tried to bunt for a hit

Apr 22, 2013, 11:19 AM EDT

Travis Hafner AP

Not only is Travis Hafner hitting .319 with a 1.120 OPS for the Yankees, he’s turned back to the clock to when he was a bunting, base-stealing machine. Well, actually he’s never been either of those things. Until yesterday, that is.

Hafner stole second base without a throw, which was his first steal since 2010 and just his fifth steal since 2005. He also tried to bunt for a single with two outs in the ninth inning and the Yankees down 8-4, with the idea being getting on base via any means necessary by beating the Blue Jays’ shift.

Instead he bunted the ball back to the mound and Darren Oliver threw him out at first base to end the game.

Andy McCullough of the Newark Star Ledger asked Hafner to recall the last time he tried to bunt for a hit and the 36-year-old designated hitter could think of just one instance:

I tried it one time, maybe like three or four years ago. We were down a couple in the last inning, and they threw a ball, so I pulled it back. Then [the coaches] took [the sign] off.

Sure enough, Fan Graphs shows that yesterday was the first time in 12 seasons and 1,116 games that Hafner actually got a bunt down.

  1. proudlycanadian - Apr 22, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    There were 2 out and Cano on base with a double. The Jays employed a shift against Hafner not caring that Cano was able to trot to third. The score was 8 to 4 so what the heck was Hafner thinking with 2 out and the team down by 4 runs?

    • proudlycanadian - Apr 22, 2013 at 11:41 AM

      Granted, there was nobody covering third, so a bunt to third would have worked; however, the bunt was nowhere close to third base.

    • bigharold - Apr 22, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      “… what the heck was Hafner thinking with 2 out and the team down by 4 runs?”

      Since there is no such thing as a 5 run homer I’m guessing he was thinking about getting on base and chipping away at the 4 run lead.

      Although not executed well it was a smart play inasmuch as it gets others teams looking to employe the shift that he’s at least willing to take what they’ll give him. I’m a big Teixeira fan and the only thing that he does that annoys me is his stubbornness when it comes to the shift.

      It was 8-4 with two out in the 9th and it didn’t work, so what, .. they still took two of three so all in all it was a good weekend.

      • proudlycanadian - Apr 22, 2013 at 12:19 PM

        He is not an experienced bunter and he bunted right to the pitcher rather than to third. The bunt was doomed..

      • abaird2012 - Apr 22, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        You mean like the Yankees’ whole season?

    • Kevin S. - Apr 22, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      He was thinking that it was the most likely way for him to reach base. In that situation, there’s little difference between a bunt hit and a HR, so might as well go for the most likely outcome.

      • proudlycanadian - Apr 22, 2013 at 12:54 PM

        When was the last time that he had a successful bunt?

      • Kevin S. - Apr 22, 2013 at 2:52 PM

        I’m not saying he executed well, I’m telling you what he was thinking.

      • bigharold - Apr 22, 2013 at 7:04 PM

        “When was the last time that he had a successful bunt?”

        When was the last time he stole a base? But, he did that this weekend too.

        It was effective to the point he has put other teams on notice that he’s willing to do something, anything to get the job done.

  2. dparker713 - Apr 22, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    That wasn’t a stolen base. That was defensive indifference. Gardner on third, 2 out, 0-2 count. No one on the defense moved at all.

  3. jrobitaille23 - Apr 22, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    It’s amazing the numbers you can hit for when you play at Yankee stadium or Coors field.

  4. cocheese000 - Apr 22, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Was Hafner ever suspected of juicing? He used to look more muscular.

    • ljl2 - Apr 22, 2013 at 7:22 PM

      Its been a running joke with Cleveland fans since around 2007-08

  5. barkleyblows - Apr 22, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    Another Ex Indian looking at a career year after leaving Cleveland. Poor Cleveland sports fans.. That city can’t catch a break!

    • ljl2 - Apr 22, 2013 at 7:23 PM

      Career year? I guess the first half of his career didn’t exist…

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