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Willis' glove turning to gold?


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Willis' glove turning to gold?

Recovering Conine to wait to face live pitching

By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com

 

JUPITER, Fla. -- To this day, Bobby Abreu remains in disbelief over the way he was robbed of an infield single last year by Dontrelle Willis.

On Sept. 30, at Citizens Bank Park, Willis made a jaw-dropping defensive play to throw out the Phillies slugger.

 

Recasting the at-bat, Abreu chopped a grounder near the first-base line. Willis sprung off the mound, collected the ball in the air, spun and rifled a perfect strike to first baseman Jeff Conine.

 

Conine every now and then reminds Willis he didn't believe what he saw.

 

Actually, in that game, Willis had two sparkling plays, gaining more attention to his often overlooked defense. While covering first base on a grounder by Jason Michaels, Willis barehanded a wild toss from Conine and lunged to the bag a split-second before Michaels. Going full speed, he flipped over and his foot was accidentally stepped on.

 

Over the past few days, Marlins pitchers have been going through a battery of defensive drills at Roger Dean Stadium. As usual, Willis has been among the best fielders on the squad.

 

Many in the organization feel Willis will someday be a Gold Glove-winning pitcher.

 

"We're definitely a defensive team and we take pride in our defense," Willis said after Monday's workouts. "Every drill is critical."

 

Claiming the Gold Glove in the National League is a tall task with Atlanta's Mike Hampton emerging as the favorite every season. While Cubs veteran Greg Maddux has slowed down a bit defensively, he is highly regarded for his glove, too.

 

But plays like Willis made last September in Philadelphia have thrown his name into the Gold Glove mix.

 

"I can't vote myself that," Willis said. "I want to get every out that I can. If I have to use my athleticism to do that, then I'll do it. Whatever it takes to win a ballgame."

 

Manager Jack McKeon is a stickler for fundamentals and "playing the game right."

 

"Jack is very adamant about doing the little things right," Willis said.

 

Willis said he saw replays of his defensive gems last September.

 

"They just kept showing them all night," the 23-year-old lefty said. "When it happens, you don't know what it looks like. Even Bobby Abreu was kind of upset with me for making that play. I looked like a wild ostrich out there, trying to make plays."

 

 

 

Link to Full Article

 

Wow, it would be great to see Dontrelle in the running for Gold Glove this year. No doubt he is the most athletic of all our pitchers.

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