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A leap to judgement on Campana's hops

5/23/2012

HOUSTON – And not only can Tony Campana leap over tags like he did in Tuesday’s game against the Astros, he can also dunk a basketball.

That’s what he says anyway, although he’s never been able to prove it. Campana told his teammates as much, but the 5-foot-8 speedster has only received scoffs.

Bryan LaHair, sitting at a nearby locker shook his head in disagreement. Bench coach Jamie Quirk gave a quick “No,” when asked if Campana could throw one down on a baseball court.

Before Tuesday, though, they probably would have said he couldn’t dive over the glove of somebody standing right in front of him. It happened in the eighth inning when Campana tried to go from first to third on an errant pickoff throw.

Astros first baseman Carlos Lee got a good bounce off the railing in front of the field-level seats and threw to Astros third baseman Matt Downs. The ball beat Campana by at least 35 feet but he took to the air to avoid the tag. It didn’t hurt that Downs appeared to flinch when Campana’s body went flying past his head.

He actually had to dive twice, once to avoid Downs’ glove and again when he found himself in foul territory and had to beat Downs to the third-base bag.

Campana never did score the tying run as Starlin Castro and Alfonso Soriano both struck out, but his play still got plenty of attention on television Wednesday.

Maybe that slam dunk would get similar attention, although Campana admitted that because he can’t palm a basketball it might take him a few tries to do it.

“I’d have to see it,” Quirk said, thinking about his ‘No’ answer, “but I wouldn’t put it past him.”