Lane Thomas took off from first base on an Alcides Escobar drive to right-center field in Nationals Park, with no one out, and was around second, headed for third base, when the ball was caught in front of the warning track. Thomas put on the brakes, and hesitated, frozen for just a moment in the dirt around second base, then hustled back toward first, knowing he had to beat a hasty retreat, but he neglected to touch second on the way back, so the New York Mets’ defenders were able to throw it in and step on second base for the out. Not great.
Did Thomas, a 26-year-old, 2014 draft pick out of high school with seven minor league and three major league seasons on his resume really not know he had to touch second again after passing it before returning to first base?
“Just not re-tagging the base, that’s something that is taught all the way through in the minor leagues,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters when asked about the play after the game, “but he understood, and in that situation right there, with no outs, you don’t even have to go that far. If you get to third base, there’s still no outs, you know, if the guy bobbles the ball in the outfield, it gets away from him, he can score easy with his speed.
Lane Thomas doesn't touch 2nd base and that's a double play! pic.twitter.com/la3NQ25cnc— SNY (@SNYtv) September 3, 2021
“That’s something that I talked to him about right away.”
So, to be clear, as Martinez reiterated after another baserunning gaffe by Thomas just a few days later, no, the outfielder who was acquired from St. Louis in a trade deadline deal, did not know he had to touch up at second base before returning to first.
“It’s kind of weird, honestly, because he’s played a lot,” Martinez explained, “… and he’s come from a really good organization [in the Cardinals] that really hones in on fundamentals, and knowing the game, and when you talk to him, he didn’t realize that you have to retouch the base. He thought once you touch it, you’re good.
“I was kind of shocked by it. But we explained to him once you go past the base, you’ve got to retouch to come back to first base.”
But after that, he totally got it.
“He gets it,” Martinez said. “As long as it happened, it happened once, if it reoccurs, then we have an issue.”
Commentary: It wasn’t Nook Logan bad, but it was not a good look.