ARLINGTON -- Jack Wilson has been playing second base for all of four games now in his 11-year Major League career, but the Mariners infielder turned one of the finest double plays you'll ever see in the sixth inning of Monday's 6-4 loss to Texas.
After reliever David Pauley loaded the bases with no outs, Wilson ranged far to his right to snag a grounder up the middle by Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba. Catching the ball just beyond the bag, he reached with his back foot and toe-tapped the base, then managed to stop his momentum quickly enough to fire back across his body and throw to first for the double play.
"That was one of the best plays I've seen in the field, period," Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "Just having the infield in and making a reactionary play like that is pretty good."
Mariners bench coach Robby Thompson, a two-time All-Star second baseman for the Giants in his playing days, seconded the motion.
"It was one thing to get to and make the throw, but to drag his foot across the bag, that's called a big league play," Thompson said. "Outstanding. He's getting a little more comfortable each and every day. He's getting to the point now where he's playing the position naturally instead of thinking a lot.
"He's just reacting and playing, and it shows. He's been very good. That's a ballplayer."
Wilson still considers himself a shortstop at heart after 10 seasons at that position, though he's adjusted as well as possible after the Mariners chose to go with Brendan Ryan there and move him to second late in Spring Training.
"I was just trying to get to the ball and everything just fell into place from there," Wilson said. "The bag was just there and I turned and threw. I'm still trying to learn my way around. When I went over for the ball, I didn't know exactly what I was going to do, which is still kind of weird. Usually I know exactly what I'm doing when I go to a ball."
Wilson also is doing well at the plate, going 2-for-4 on Monday to raise his average to .385. Meanwhile, Ryan is struggling at .083 after an 0-for-3 night. But the Mariners aren't second-guessing their decision to go with the slick-fielding shortstop acquired from the Cardinals in the offseason.
"He's an intense competitor and I think he's just pressing," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "But he's a good ballplayer. I love the energy he brings to our club. He's a heck of a shortstop. He made a nice play tonight, too. He'll be fine. He'll figure it out."
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.