Scott Podsednik already has five stolen bases this season. (Darren Hauck/AP)
SAN FRANCISCO -- Milwaukee Brewers manager Ned Yost just happened to glance up at Scott Podsednik, who was on second base, during the seventh inning of Monday's eventual 7-5 loss to the San Francisco Giants.
"He was staring at me like he was saying, 'I can get this guy,'" said Yost. "So I gave him a sign to tell him if he thinks he's got him [the pitcher], then go. No sooner than I gave him the go-ahead, he was gone."
This was no ordinary stolen base. Podsednik swiped third while Giants left-hander Wayne Franklin held the ball in a stretch position on the mound. No pitch, no throw, and Podsednik slid into third base with his fifth stolen base of the season.
"That's a lot of hard work from Dave Nelson," said Yost. "He's probably the best baserunning coach in baseball. He prepares guys for these situations."
The Brewers have become a fun team to watch, and their daring baserunning has a lot to do with it. In addition to Podseknik's steal of third, Craig Counsell and Junior Spivey both scored on a sharp single that never got out of the infield. Counsell scored from second on the play, while Spivey came all the way around from first when a throw home skipped past Giants catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
"I thought Counsell could score because he runs the bases so well. With Junior, that was all on his own," said Brewers third-base coach Rich Donnelly. "Craig and Junior are two of our best baserunners and a lot of that is instinctive. But they also work on a lot of stuff."
Scott Podsednik / CF
Weight: 170 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L
Podsednik, who was picked off first base during the first inning Tuesday, established himself as a base stealer during his rookie season last year with 43 steals, and much of the time he had to wait for a sign. Yost said he's earned a green light this year.
"We trust his ability when to go and when not to go," said Yost. "He studies situations and has good instincts. He also studies pitchers and their deliveries and looks for keys."
It's all part of being aggressive and keeping the pressure on the defense, and it's more than stolen bases.
"It's small stuff," said Donnelly. "It can keep an inning going, or stop an inning. Baserunning is the worst thing baseball players do. If you were to break down every baserunning mistake, it would look like a road map. Dave takes these guys out every day and works with them."
Working with Bonds: Donnelly worked under manager Jim Leyland with the Pittsburgh Pirates beginning in the 1986 season, when current Giants slugger Barry Bonds first reached the Major Leagues with the Pirates.
"The thing about Bonds that people overlook is his baserunning and defense," said Donnelly. "He and Larry Walker are the two best baserunners I've ever seen. Bonds ran himself into a double on that one bloop [Monday], and made two great plays on defense to save the game for the Giants."
Donnelly worked with Bonds from 1986 until he left the Pirates after the 1992 season.
"With Bonds in left and Andy Van Slyke in center, we could have put anyone in right field," said Donnelly. "They covered everything. No one makes that play down the left-field line like Bonds."
Dave Burba / P
Weight: 240 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
A strange connection: Brewers right-hander Dave Burba grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and spent a lot of time at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium.
During batting practice when he was in the eighth grade, he and a friend badgered Montreal Expos outfielder/first baseman Warren Cromartie for a ball.
"We kept yelling at him to throw us a ball until he finally did," said Burba. "But it tipped off our hands and landed in a young girl's lap. No matter how hard we tried, we couldn't talk her out of that ball."
Years later, when Burba was with the Seattle Mariners in 1991, he was on the mound when the stadium announcer announced Cromartie in his final Major League at-bat with the Kansas City Royals.
"I had to step back off the mound for a little bit," said Burba. "I remembered that day in Cincinnati and now here I was facing him in his final at-bat.
"I've seen a lot of crazy stuff and played with and against some the best players in the game, but it's stuff like that, personal stuff, that is special to me."
Coming up: Right-hander Wes Obermueller (0-1, 8.44) will make his first career appearance against the Giants on Wednesday afternoon. He suffered the loss in his first start April 9 in the Brewers' home opener. He allowed five runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings of an eventual 13-7 defeat.
Rick Eymer is a contributing writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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