DETROIT It's not every day that there are three plays at the plate and the worse collision occurs when the catcher gets run over by his own teammate.
That's what happened to Tigers catcher Gerald Laird in the fourth inning of Thursday's game against the Minnesota Twins.
With runners at first and second and nobody out, Jamey Carroll hit a pop-up near the third-base line. Laird went for it, pitcher Rick Porcello went for it and first baseman Prince Fielder went for it all at the same time.
"It was up in the air, Prince was calling it and I felt like I was right underneath it and just for whatever reason, didn't peel off in time to get out of there," Porcello said. "It got knocked out of my hand or I didn't grasp it."
The result was a collision in which Fielder ran over Laird and the ball ended up on the ground after popping out of Porcello's glove. Porcello received an error on the play.
"You tell your players to be aggressive, and every one of them was aggressive," manager Jim Leyland said. "And you cant fault anybody for that. Theyre all trying to make a play. Thats baseball."
However, Laird took the brunt of it, as Fielder outweighs him by a few pounds. The collision left Laird on the ground for a minute as athletic trainer Kevin Rand checked on him.
"I just heard Kevins voice asking me, How are you feeling? I go, Ill tell you in a minute. Let me just lay here for a second,'" Laird said. "He started laughing. Then I just got up. Basically just said, Now I know why I didnt end up in the NFL, going across the middle. Because I dont want to take any more of those blows."
Everyone was able to laugh about it after the game because Laird was OK and the Tigers won the game, but it was scary for a moment.
"My elbow hit him. I hit him in a bad spot, right in the eye, so I didn't know if he was bleeding or not so I didn't want to look down," Fielder said. "He's pretty tough because I know my elbow hurt."
Leyland had a few moments of concern as well.
"I thought I was going to have to put Alex (Avila) in, which I didnt want to do," Leyland said. "I could see it coming together, and I knew it wasnt going to be pretty. And I knew that Gerald between (Miguel) Cabrera, Fielder and Gerald, I knew he would take the short end of the stick on it."
Laird said he called for the ball, as did Fielder, but the noise prevented them from hearing each other.
"Sometimes you dont hear guys yelling," Laird said. "It just goes to show you, we both want to make the play, being aggressive. It happens. Just glad no one really got hurt."
Porcello said he learned his lesson.
"It was kind of just a weird play," Porcello said. "I gotta do a better job of just getting out of the way. If Prince calls it, then he takes it and I've just got to get out of the way."
Although he was shaken up a bit, Laird said he never thought about coming out of the game.
"I just wanted to make sure I gathered my thoughts a bit, because a really big guy hit me," Laird said. "Thats Alexs day off, and its my time to play, and I wanted to be back there, but I just wanted to make sure I was focused enough to catch and be all right. I didnt want to do that to whoever was out there, and obviously the umpire too. I just took my time ... I did see some stars at first. Thats why I laid there for a second, until I felt OK to get up."
Laird said he underwent some tests following the game but expected to be fine. Leyland had said that Laird would play at least one game in the three-game series with Kansas City over the weekend.