Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia moved his left fielder onto the infield dirt, then watched him start a double play. Washington counterpart Matt Williams tried a similar trick — he put his right fielder on the grass behind the mound, only to see a bases-loaded triple fly into the vacated spot.

Designer defences are taking over Major League Baseball: Clubs are finding creative ways to position their fielders.

The Detroit Tigers even hired a defensive coordinator. Ever expect to hear about a defensive coordinator in baseball?

Matt Martin got that job, and pointed to the overloaded alignments Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz sees on a daily basis.

"That's not out of the norm now. That is the norm. With left-handers, if you'd have seen this 25 years ago, the way they play Big Papi — and 15, 20 guys in the league playing like that — you'd be, 'What happened? Did I wake up and come to a softball game?'"

Makes perfect sense to Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker.

"The data is so undeniable, the defensive metrics are so prevalent," he said. "You have so much more information, you should use it.

"There were some times a few years ago when I felt out of place. I was out there in right field and kind of like, 'Where am I supposed to be?' But we practice it, I practice my throws from extreme angles and I'm comfortable."

An hour later, Walker was standing in shallow right when Phillies slugger Ryan Howard batted in a spring training game. Walker made a diving stop on a hard grounder, scrambled to his feet, but threw the ball past first base.

"It's not an exact science," he said.

Fielding always lagged far behind pitching and hitting in statistical analysis, mainly because it was hard to quantify glovework. Teams are trying hard to play catchup.

Baseball Info Solutions tracks defensive shifts, and reports there were 8,134 instances in the majors last season. That's way up from 4,577 in 2012, and far more than the 2,358 in 2011.

"It's not as much fun as it used to be," Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon lamented. "Everybody's using it."

Maddon is a shifting maven, having employed four-man outfields and routinely putting three players on one side of the dirt at different depths.

In a recent exhibition, with a runner on third base, Maddon overshifted his infield in the middle of an at-bat. No luck. A wild pitch scored the run.

Maddon has a theory on why it took teams so many years to shift around.

"They were afraid they might be wrong," he said. "But it always made sense to adjust your fielders. Why would you play someone in a place where a guy never hits it?"

Minnesota outfielder Jason Kubel has been on the other side a lot. The left-handed hitter debuted a decade ago and rarely saw defensive shifts, if ever. Against the New York Yankees this month, he faced three fielders on the right side during every at-bat.

"Now," Kubel said, "it would be weird if I came up and saw that nobody was moved."