Manny Machado will eventually be recognized as one of the finer third baseman of his generation if he isn't already thought of in those terms. Playing third base used to mean standing within 30 or 40 feet of the bag and seeing what happened. Now, in the era of The Shift, it can mean swinging over to the right side of the infield against a dead-pull hitter.
That's where Machado found himself for the San Diego Padres yesterday with Houston's Kyle Tucker at the dish. When Tucker lofted a high fly down the right field line, Machado drifted into a region few third baseman have ever visited to record a putout: just steps from the warning track and a stone's flip from the opposite foul pole.
Machado is actually an explorer in the vein of Magellan or De Soto, having already previously conquered the region last season with an even finer running snag.
Machado's propensity to pop up in unexpected place, like a 2004 Instant Messenger away message, reminds us that not all who wander are lost.