Pitching In: Mop-up duty on mound for 6 position players


Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Ryan Raburn, who normally plays outfield, delivers in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Cleveland. The Cubs won 17-0. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Jeff Francoeur throws to the Baltimore Orioles in the eighth inning of an interleague baseball game, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Baltimore. Baltimore won 19-3. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Tampa Bay Rays infielder Nick Franklin, pitching in relief, gestures toward Washington Nationals batter Danny Espinosa after hitting him with a pitch during the ninth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Nationals won 16-4. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

Thanks to several blowouts in baseball the last two nights, a whopping six position players were summoned to the mound to save their bullpens during garbage time. Here’s a look at how those hitters fared when asked to pitch in on mop-up duty:



The Phillies outfielder threw 48 pitches over the final two innings of a 19-3 loss to Baltimore on Tuesday night. He retired the side in the seventh, the first 1-2-3 inning for Philadelphia. In the eighth, though, he gave up a homer to Ryan Flaherty, walked three, hit a batter with a pitch and allowed two runs.

An embarrassing night for the Phillies got worse when, in the eighth, pitching coach Bob McClure tried to call the bullpen to warm up a pitcher and the phone was off the hook. McClure had to wave a white towel from the dugout to get the attention of his relievers.

“I kind of got to experience everything that a pitcher probably experiences over a year in two innings,” Francoeur said.


Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash turned to the utility man in the eighth inning of a 16-4 loss to Washington on Tuesday. Elmore allowed a solo homer to Wilson Ramos among three Nationals hits.


The infielder followed Elmore to the mound in the ninth inning for the Rays. Franklin also gave up three hits — including a two-run homer by Ramos.

“Cash asked me if I could throw strikes, and I told him I probably could,” Franklin said.

He didn’t walk a batter, but Franklin plunked Danny Espinosa with a pitch.

“They did pick us up quite a bit because it kept two (other) guys from pitching. It kept us that much fresher going into the game (Wednesday),” Cash said.


The starting shortstop for San Diego, Amarista homered in the sixth inning of a 16-2 loss at Oakland on Wednesday and needed just two pitches to retire the only batter he faced in the eighth. By getting Billy Burns on a fly to right, Amarista distinguished himself as the most effective Padres pitcher of the night. “I’m really happy about it,” he said through a translator.


Cleveland’s designated hitter for the first eight innings Wednesday night, Raburn got two outs in the ninth and reached 88 mph on the ballpark radar gun. He was charged with two unearned runs, one hit and one walk in a 17-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Raburn threw 25 pitches and was pulled with a 2-0 count to David Ross after grimacing during a delivery.

“Ryan’s arm was getting a little cranky,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Getting in that situation doesn’t feel good. It’s not a lot of fun.”


Francona brought in a left-hander (his left fielder) to replace Raburn, who exchanged broad smiles with Murphy as the crowd roared its approval. Murphy was hurt by an error behind him and eventually got the final out of the inning. But first, he gave up two hits, a walk and five more unearned runs — including a grand slam by rookie slugger Kris Bryant.

“If you’re going to give them up, give them up big, right?” said Murphy, who topped out at 78 mph.

Just like Raburn, it was the second career pitching appearance for Murphy.

“I’m just trying to show my versatility, which is why I was pumped when I got the call,” he said, chuckling. “Ryan couldn’t get the job done, so I had to come in and bail him out. I was trying to pound the strike zone, but these are big league hitters, not some guys like you’d face in high school.”

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