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Pinch Pitchers: Every MLB Position Player to Take the Mound in 2014

by: Esteban On  Monday, August 18, 2014
Tags:  Baseball   MLB   Pitchers   Pitching   Stats  

position players non-pitchers who have pitched in 2014 mlb

It’s never fun to see your team get blown out—unless it’s baseball, and your team runs out of pitchers before the game is over. Then it actually is kind of fun, because you get to see a position player pitch.

I bring all this up because, in case you haven’t noticed, 2014 has been a historic year for position players pitching in major league baseball games. Since the start of baseball’s expansion era in 1961, the most pitching appearances by non-pitchers in a single season has been 14 (it was last year). This year, we’re already up to 16 appearances by 14 different players.

Catchers are by far the most likely position players to take the mound, having done so six times this year. However, if you group second baseman and shortstops together, they also have six pitching appearances, followed by first baseman with three and outfielders with two.

As for the teams, the Rangers lead the way with three non-pitcher pitching appearances, followed by the White Sox, Dodgers, and Tigers with two each, and seven other teams with just one.

So what’s going on here? Well, a lot of things, probably. But mostly it’s a combination of (a) managers making a lot of pitching changes, (b) stricter innings- and appearance-limits for pitchers, and (c) luck.

Ready to take a look at the list? Then click on those little arrows to get started.

 

position players non-pitchers who have pitched in 2014 mlb

It’s never fun to see your team get blown out—unless it’s baseball, and your team runs out of pitchers before the game is over. Then it actually is kind of fun, because you get to see a position player pitch.

I bring all this up because, in case you haven’t noticed, 2014 has been a historic year for position players pitching in major league baseball games. Since the start of baseball’s expansion era in 1961, the most pitching appearances by non-pitchers in a single season has been 14 (it was last year). This year, we’re already up to 16 appearances by 14 different players.

Catchers are by far the most likely position players to take the mound, having done so six times this year. However, if you group second baseman and shortstops together, they also have six pitching appearances, followed by first baseman with three and outfielders with two.

As for the teams, the Rangers lead the way with three non-pitcher pitching appearances, followed by the White Sox, Dodgers, and Tigers with two each, and seven other teams with just one.

So what’s going on here? Well, a lot of things, probably. But mostly it’s a combination of (a) managers making a lot of pitching changes, (b) stricter innings- and appearance-limits for pitchers, and (c) luck.

Ready to take a look at the list? Then click on those little arrows to get started.

 

14 leury garcia white sox - position players who pitched in 2014

Position: 2B/3B/CF
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 0 K, 2 ER
Final Score: 
Boston 6, Chicago 4

Normally, the majority of non-pitcher pitching appearances take place after the All-Star break, when pitching staffs start to wear thin. However, this year it took just two weeks before the White Sox sent utility man Leury Garcia to the mound in the top of the 14th of a tie game.

As you probably pieced together from the above stats, Leury gave up the deciding runs and got the loss.

 

14. Leury Garcia / White Sox / April 16

14 leury garcia white sox - position players who pitched in 2014

Position: 2B/3B/CF
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 0 K, 2 ER
Final Score: 
Boston 6, Chicago 4

Normally, the majority of non-pitcher pitching appearances take place after the All-Star break, when pitching staffs start to wear thin. However, this year it took just two weeks before the White Sox sent utility man Leury Garcia to the mound in the top of the 14th of a tie game.

As you probably pieced together from the above stats, Leury gave up the deciding runs and got the loss.

 

13-dean-anna-yankees-position-players-who-pitched-in-2014

Position: SS
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 1.o IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 0 K, 2 ER
Final Score: 
Tampa Bay 16, New York 1

Just three days after the White Sox hung a loss on Leury Garcia, the Yankees sent shortstop Dean Anna out to the mound to mop up the final outs of a drubbing at the hands of the Rays. It was just Anna’s 10th appearance in the big leagues, and he got sent back down to the minors two days later.

 

13. Dean Anna / Yankees / April 19

13-dean-anna-yankees-position-players-who-pitched-in-2014

Position: SS
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 1.o IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 0 K, 2 ER
Final Score: 
Tampa Bay 16, New York 1

Just three days after the White Sox hung a loss on Leury Garcia, the Yankees sent shortstop Dean Anna out to the mound to mop up the final outs of a drubbing at the hands of the Rays. It was just Anna’s 10th appearance in the big leagues, and he got sent back down to the minors two days later.

 

12 mike carp red sox - position players who pitched in 2014

Position: 1B/LF
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 5 BB, 0 K, 1 ER
Final Score: 
New York 14, Boston 5

Considering the fact that Carp (now with the Rangers) walked five Yankees batters, the fact that he only gave up one run is kind of impressive.

 

12. Mike Carp / Red Sox / April 23

12 mike carp red sox - position players who pitched in 2014

Position: 1B/LF
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 5 BB, 0 K, 1 ER
Final Score: 
New York 14, Boston 5

Considering the fact that Carp (now with the Rangers) walked five Yankees batters, the fact that he only gave up one run is kind of impressive.

 

11 martin maldonado brewers - position players who pitched in 2014

Position: C
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 0K, 0 ER
Final Score: 
St. Louis 9, Milwaukee 3

Martin Maldonado was the fourth position player to pitch in the month of April, and as you can tell from that stat line, he was basically the Adam Wainwright of position players pitching.

The funny thing about this appearance, though, is that it was actually necessitated by the previous two games. On April 28, the Brewers beat the Cardinals 5-2 in 12 innings, and on April 29 they beat them 5-4 in 11. So by the time April 30 rolled around, Ron Roenicke was flat out of pitchers. So he turned to his backup catcher.

 

11. Martin Maldonado / Brewers / April 30

11 martin maldonado brewers - position players who pitched in 2014

Position: C
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 0K, 0 ER
Final Score: 
St. Louis 9, Milwaukee 3

Martin Maldonado was the fourth position player to pitch in the month of April, and as you can tell from that stat line, he was basically the Adam Wainwright of position players pitching.

The funny thing about this appearance, though, is that it was actually necessitated by the previous two games. On April 28, the Brewers beat the Cardinals 5-2 in 12 innings, and on April 29 they beat them 5-4 in 11. So by the time April 30 rolled around, Ron Roenicke was flat out of pitchers. So he turned to his backup catcher.

 

10 mitch moreland rangers - position players who pitched in 2014

Position: 1B
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 ER
Final Score: 
Colorado 12, Texas 1

If Martin Maldonado was the Adam Wainwright of pitching position players, Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland (of Mitchwich fame) was the Clayton Kershaw. The guy faced three batters and got a lineout, a fly ball, and a groundout with just 10 pitches.

 

10. Mitch Moreland / Rangers / May 6

10 mitch moreland rangers - position players who pitched in 2014

Position: 1B
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 ER
Final Score: 
Colorado 12, Texas 1

If Martin Maldonado was the Adam Wainwright of pitching position players, Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland (of Mitchwich fame) was the Clayton Kershaw. The guy faced three batters and got a lineout, a fly ball, and a groundout with just 10 pitches.

 

9 daniel descalso cardinals - position players who pitched in 2014

Position: 3B/2B/SS
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 ER
Final Score: 
Chicago 17, St. Louis 5

By May 12, we were already up to six pitching appearances by six different position players. In this case it was Cardinals utility infielder Daniel Descalso, who came into a game against the Cubs with two out in the top of the ninth—after actual pitcher Randy Choate gave up six runs—and got the final out on just two pitches.

 

9. Daniel Descalso / Cardinals / May 12

9 daniel descalso cardinals - position players who pitched in 2014

Position: 3B/2B/SS
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 ER
Final Score: 
Chicago 17, St. Louis 5

By May 12, we were already up to six pitching appearances by six different position players. In this case it was Cardinals utility infielder Daniel Descalso, who came into a game against the Cubs with two out in the top of the ninth—after actual pitcher Randy Choate gave up six runs—and got the final out on just two pitches.

 

8-steve-tolleson-blue-jays-position-players-who-pitched-in-2014

Position: 2B
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: o.1 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 ER
Final Score: 
Cleveland 15, Toronto 4

Steve Tolleson’s relief appearance was almost as short as Daniel Descalso’s two days earlier. He only needed four total pitches to get the last out—though the first one was hit for a double.

 

8. Steve Tolleson / Blue Jays / May 14

8-steve-tolleson-blue-jays-position-players-who-pitched-in-2014

Position: 2B
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: o.1 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 ER
Final Score: 
Cleveland 15, Toronto 4

Steve Tolleson’s relief appearance was almost as short as Daniel Descalso’s two days earlier. He only needed four total pitches to get the last out—though the first one was hit for a double.

 

7 drew butera dodgers - position players who pitched in 2014

Position: C
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line May 14: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 ER
Final Score: Miami 13, Los Angeles 3
State Line May 17: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 2 ER
Final Score: 
Arizona 18, Los Angeles 7

That’s right, Dodgers backup catcher Drew Butera made two pitching appearances in one week. It was the first time a non-pitcher made two pitching appearances in the same week since 1991!

On May 14, after six real pitchers gave up 13 runs to the Marlins, the Dodgers threw him out on the mound to get the last three outs—which he did. He even recorded a strikeout.

Amazingly, just three days later, the Dodgers found themselves up sh*t’s creek again against the Diamondbacks, so again they went to Drew Butera. However, things didn’t go so well the second time around, as he gave up a double and then a home run before getting the last two outs.

 

7. Drew Butera / Dodgers / May 14 & May 17

7 drew butera dodgers - position players who pitched in 2014

Position: C
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line May 14: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 ER
Final Score: Miami 13, Los Angeles 3
State Line May 17: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 2 ER
Final Score: 
Arizona 18, Los Angeles 7

That’s right, Dodgers backup catcher Drew Butera made two pitching appearances in one week. It was the first time a non-pitcher made two pitching appearances in the same week since 1991!

On May 14, after six real pitchers gave up 13 runs to the Marlins, the Dodgers threw him out on the mound to get the last three outs—which he did. He even recorded a strikeout.

Amazingly, just three days later, the Dodgers found themselves up sh*t’s creek again against the Diamondbacks, so again they went to Drew Butera. However, things didn’t go so well the second time around, as he gave up a double and then a home run before getting the last two outs.

 

6 danny worth tigers - position players who pitched in 2014

Position: 2B, SS, 3B
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line May 22: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 ER
Final Score: 
Texas 9, Detroit 2
Stat Line May 24: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 ER
Final Score: Texas 12, Detroit 2

Now we’re really getting historic. The week after Drew Butera pitched twice for the Dodgers, Danny Worth pitched twice for the Tigers.

The first time out he pitched the ninth, giving up just one single and striking out two, which is amazing. But two days later, against the same damn team, things didn’t go as well. After getting the first two batters to ground out, he gave up two doubles and a single (and a run) before getting the final batter to ground out.

But hey, what do you expect from a utility infielder?

 

6. Danny Worth / Tigers / May 22 & May 24

6 danny worth tigers - position players who pitched in 2014

Position: 2B, SS, 3B
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line May 22: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 ER
Final Score: 
Texas 9, Detroit 2
Stat Line May 24: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 ER
Final Score: Texas 12, Detroit 2

Now we’re really getting historic. The week after Drew Butera pitched twice for the Dodgers, Danny Worth pitched twice for the Tigers.

The first time out he pitched the ninth, giving up just one single and striking out two, which is amazing. But two days later, against the same damn team, things didn’t go as well. After getting the first two batters to ground out, he gave up two doubles and a single (and a run) before getting the final batter to ground out.

But hey, what do you expect from a utility infielder?

 

5 travis snider pirates - position players who pitched in 2014

Position: OF
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K, 2 ER
Final Score: 
Cincinnati 11, Pittsburgh 4

The Pirates used three pitchers in a nine-inning loss on June 14, three pitchers in a 10-inning loss on June 15, and then five pitchers in a nine-inning loss to the Reds on June 17, after a day off. So it certainly doesn’t sound like their pitching staff was particularly overworked.

Nevertheless, after using just three pitchers through eight innings against the Reds on June 18, Clint Hurdle had to go with Travis “Trashstash” Snider for the ninth inning.

His one strikeout? It came against 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto. So that’s neat.

 

5. Travis Snider / Pirates / June 18

5 travis snider pirates - position players who pitched in 2014

Position: OF
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K, 2 ER
Final Score: 
Cincinnati 11, Pittsburgh 4

The Pirates used three pitchers in a nine-inning loss on June 14, three pitchers in a 10-inning loss on June 15, and then five pitchers in a nine-inning loss to the Reds on June 17, after a day off. So it certainly doesn’t sound like their pitching staff was particularly overworked.

Nevertheless, after using just three pitchers through eight innings against the Reds on June 18, Clint Hurdle had to go with Travis “Trashstash” Snider for the ninth inning.

His one strikeout? It came against 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto. So that’s neat.

 

4 chris gimenez rangers - position players who pitched in 2014

Position: C
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 ER
Final Score: 
Anaheim 15, Texas 6

Rangers catcher Chris Gimenez was downright masterful in his first ever professional pitching appearance. He retired the Angels in order in the top of the ninth on just 12 pitches, while starter Colby Lewis gave up 13 hits and 11 runs in 2.1 innings.

 

4. Chris Gimenez / Rangers / July 10

4 chris gimenez rangers - position players who pitched in 2014

Position: C
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 ER
Final Score: 
Anaheim 15, Texas 6

Rangers catcher Chris Gimenez was downright masterful in his first ever professional pitching appearance. He retired the Angels in order in the top of the ninth on just 12 pitches, while starter Colby Lewis gave up 13 hits and 11 runs in 2.1 innings.

 

3-john-baker-cubs-position-players-who-pitched-in-2014

Position: C
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 K, 0 ER
Final Score: 
Chicago 4, Colorado 3

Ready for a little bit of trivia? Cubs catcher John Baker is the only position player to record a win as a pitcher in 2014. He’s also the only position player to pitch in a game his team won.

Baker took the mound in the 16th inning of a game against the Rockies on July 29 and got out of a minor jam with an inning-ending double play. Then the Cubbies won it in the bottom half of the inning on a sac fly from Starlin Castro.

 

3. John Baker / Cubs / July 29

3-john-baker-cubs-position-players-who-pitched-in-2014

Position: C
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 K, 0 ER
Final Score: 
Chicago 4, Colorado 3

Ready for a little bit of trivia? Cubs catcher John Baker is the only position player to record a win as a pitcher in 2014. He’s also the only position player to pitch in a game his team won.

Baker took the mound in the 16th inning of a game against the Rockies on July 29 and got out of a minor jam with an inning-ending double play. Then the Cubbies won it in the bottom half of the inning on a sac fly from Starlin Castro.

 

2 adam dunn pitching white sox - position players who pitched in 2014

Position: DH/1B
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 ER
Final Score:
Texas 16, Chicago 0

What happens when four pitchers give up 15 runs through eight innings? The manager says “f*ck it, I’m not wasting another arm on this horsesh*t” and puts Adam Dunn, owner of 459 career home runs, on the mound.

Or at least that’s what happened on August 5 at U.S. Cellular Field. And as hilarious as it sounds, Dunn only gave up one more run.

 

2. Adam Dunn / White Sox / August 5

2 adam dunn pitching white sox - position players who pitched in 2014

Position: DH/1B
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 ER
Final Score:
Texas 16, Chicago 0

What happens when four pitchers give up 15 runs through eight innings? The manager says “f*ck it, I’m not wasting another arm on this horsesh*t” and puts Adam Dunn, owner of 459 career home runs, on the mound.

Or at least that’s what happened on August 5 at U.S. Cellular Field. And as hilarious as it sounds, Dunn only gave up one more run.

 

1-j.p.-arencibia-rangers-position-players-who-pitched-in-2014

Position: C
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 ER
Final Score: 
Tampa Bay 10, Texas 1

On August 12, the Rangers beat the Rays 3-2 in 14 innings, but it cost them six pitchers. So on August 13, when they headed into the top of the ninth trailing 10-1, there was no point wearing out any more pitchers. So Ron Washington sent catcher J.P. Arencibia to the mound.

It was the third time the Rangers sent a position player to the mound this year, and the second time they sent a catcher.

 

1. J.P. Arencibia / Rangers / August 13

1-j.p.-arencibia-rangers-position-players-who-pitched-in-2014

Position: C
Pitching Experience: none
Stat Line: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 ER
Final Score: 
Tampa Bay 10, Texas 1

On August 12, the Rangers beat the Rays 3-2 in 14 innings, but it cost them six pitchers. So on August 13, when they headed into the top of the ninth trailing 10-1, there was no point wearing out any more pitchers. So Ron Washington sent catcher J.P. Arencibia to the mound.

It was the third time the Rangers sent a position player to the mound this year, and the second time they sent a catcher.

 



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