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Yelich enjoys unique first stolen base

Yelich enjoys unique first stolen base

Yelich enjoys unique first stolen base

PITTSBURGH -- It wasn't exactly Rickey Henderson-like, but Christian Yelich isn't complaining.

In the second inning of the Marlins' 4-3 loss to the Pirates on Tuesday, Yelich was credited with his first MLB stolen base. The swipe came in his 14th big league game, and it wasn't exactly conventional.

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Actually, Yelich was almost picked off by lefty Jeff Locke, who threw over to first as the Marlins rookie dashed to second. First baseman Garrett Jones, who throws left-handed, tried to nab Yelich, but his errant toss struck second-base umpire Gary Cederstrom square in the back.

The throw was going to be off the mark, as shortstop Jordy Mercer was moving off the bag to retrieve the ball that never reached him.

Yelich heard a grunt from behind him, unaware of what happened. He also saw the Pirates middle infielders put their gloves over their faces because they were laughing.

In the box score, it goes down as a stolen base.

"It's going to be funny to remember my first stolen base," Yelich said. "I can say, 'The guy smoked the umpire with the throw.' It happens."

Although Yelich is leading off for the Marlins, and he has good speed, he isn't a prototypical stolen-base threat. He's more of a pure hitter who is selective and has the ability to draw walks.

Before being promoted from Double-A Jacksonville, Yelich had five steals in the Minors this season.

He's dealt with some injuries this year, and swiping bases wasn't his priority. Yelich had attempted about four steals since being called up, but on each occasion, the ball was either fouled off or put into play.

Even if the throw didn't peg Cederstrom, Yelich still had a chance to be safe at second.

"You never know on those," the rookie said. "I got a pretty good jump and put the pressure on them to make a good play, and they didn't. That happens. It doesn't happen often, but it did happen."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter Less