6/30/2014 11:54 P.M. ET
Jackson delights fans with rare (for him) diving grab
By Matt Slovin / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Torii Hunter shouted from right field. Justin Verlander raised his arms in exuberance from the dugout.
Some teams, like the Angels, have center fielders like Mike Trout, and a diving catch is no cause for celebration. The Tigers are not one of those teams.
Center fielder Austin Jackson robbed Oakland's Jed Lowrie of a base hit in the fourth inning of Detroit's 5-4 walk-off win over the A's on Monday night.
"He just did it on his own," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said of the spectacular grab. "Some of the guys have been ribbing him about diving. The guys were kind of needling him on it."
Ausmus was asked a follow-up question about whether he needs to see Jackson lay out to make grabs more often. The manager responded by saying some players simply aren't comfortable diving. Jackson himself noted that it's something to which he needs to grow more accustomed.
The 27-year-old center fielder's reluctance to dive has become something of a running gag among Tigers fans, as evidenced by the surprised applause the catch elicited from the sellout Comerica Park crowd.
"I get it all the time in the outfield," Jackson admitted. "A ball drops and I get, 'Come on! Just dive for it.' It's probably a couple drunk fans that didn't see the ball landed 20 feet in front of me."
As could be expected given the rarity of such a play by Jackson, his mechanics were slightly off-kilter.
"I think I hit my knees before I actually caught the ball," he said. "I don't remember seeing too many plays where guys hit their knees before they catch it.
"I heard Torii screaming at me, 'Dive! Dive! Dive!' "
Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.