Yankees' Girardi: Nothing Iglesias does surprises me

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
The Tigers' Jose Iglesias singles in the third inning. Iglesias went 1-for-2 against the Yankees in Monday's 2-1 victory.

Detroit — Joe Girardi has seen plenty of Jose Iglesias over the years.

Probably more than he'd care to see, frankly.

"I think the question was when he came up, how much he was gonna hit," Girardi said Tuesday afternoon before the game against the Tigers at Comerica Park. "Everyone always knew that defensively, he was top-notch.

"And we saw him hit right away when he came up. He's had success against us. I don't know what he's doing against all the other clubs, but he's turned himself into a very, very good player."

Iglesias broke into the majors in 2011 with the Red Sox, and played with Boston until he was dealt to Detroit in July 2013.

He's played 20 games against the Yankees, and hit .356, including going 1-for-2 in the Tigers' 2-1 victory in the series opener Monday.

But where Iglesias, 25, drew the "oohs" and "ahhs," per usual, was with the glove, in the sixth inning, when he ranged far to his right, grabbed a grounder and threw across his body to get speedy Brett Gardner by a step at first.

Miguel Cabrera let out a jovial yell, the Tigers fans appreciate it, and the play even drew a nomination for ESPN's top play of the day.

Your thoughts, Joe?

"I don't think there's really a whole lot of plays that he makes that would really surprise you," Girardi said. "You might say, 'Wow, what a great play,' but he's gonna make a lot of those this year."

So what's that you said?

Wow, what a great play?

"Nooo," Girardi said with a smile. "I may have said, 'You little something.'"

"Defensively," said Girardi, "he's as good as that's out there."

Nuclear eruption

Girardi grew up a Cubs fans, and he was reminded Tuesday of the famous managerial meltdown by Lee Elia from April 1983.

"My parents probably didn't let me listen to it," Girardi said. "I heard it as an adult. My friend had a bunch of them saved, of managers kind of exploding."

The topic came up, of course, in reference to Reds manager Bryan Price, who needed 77 f-bombs to get through his tirade with the media Monday.

Price was upset that a Cincinnati Enquirer reporter broke a couple news tidbits that the Reds manager didn't want out there, for fear the news would help his opponent.

"When it's yourself," Girardi said of managerial eruptions, "it's embarrassing when you look back.

"It just shows the competitive nature of managers. We want success for our players, we're gonna protect our players and we want to win. So it's gonna come out from time to time."

Girardi has spent his baseball career — playing and coaching — in two of the largest media markets, Chicago and New York.

That's probably helped him keep his cool over the years, and avoid becoming a YouTube sensation.

"The one thing you don't realize as a player about the media is how competitive the media is, how important it is for that person to break a story," Girardi said. "As a manager, you understand that's how it is, and you've gotta deal with it."

Yankee angst

There was a lot of frustration in the Yankees visiting clubhouse after Monday's game, from CC Sabathia, who took the hard-luck loss, to Jacoby Ellsbury, who put a great swing on the ball in the eighth inning — only for it to be an inning-ending double play.

With the Tigers leading 2-1, Ellsbury was up to face new Tigers pitcher Joba Chamberlain. There were runners on first and third.

He smashed the Chamberlain pitch, but it was just to second baseman Ian Kinsler's right. He snagged it, flipped to Iglesias and it was a critical double play.

"That's about the only way you can double me up right there," said Ellsbury, who had 39 stolen bases last year, 52 the year before that, and a high of 70 in 2009. "If I hit it to his left a little bit, they don't double me up, or even if I don't hit it as hard. If I hit it basically anywhere else on the field, as hard as I hit it ..."

Well, it might've won the game for the Yankees.

But the Tigers, at 11-2, are hot, and everything's going their way.

"I just hit it at the wrong person," Ellsbury said. "I think I'll take 600 more of those swings the rest of the season."