Eye of the Hurricane

April 28, 2009

Position Players Pitching…

Filed under: Uncategorized — tranquilo1212 @ 3:57 pm

If you were watching the end of the Florida Marlins game on Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies, you probably saw Cody Ross make his first appearance on the mound for the Fish. Ross did not come to Florida in a trade, or on a jet from the triple A Albuequerque Isotopes, but instead from… right field? That’s right, while the Marlins were on top of the world of baseball a week earlier with an 11 – 1 record, on that sunny Sunday at Dolphin Stadium, the bullpen was so depleted that an outfielder was relegated to mop-up duty in the Marlins’ sixth straight loss.
Four hours up I-75, the New York Yankees had faced a similar problem thirteen days earlier, as outfielder Nick Swisher took to the mound to slow down the Tampa Bay Rays, who had already put 15 runs on the board against the Yanks. The Bronx Bombers got whipped twice more in the next 5 days by Cleveland Indians, leading Yankee fans to chant “We want Swisher.”
But do we really want our position players to pitch? The answer is a resounding no. For all we think of Albert Pujols, Kevin Youkillis, Hanley Ramirez, Derek Jeters and others as superheroes, the truth is there’s a stronger kryptonite than an 0 for 30 slump out there. It’s called a wrecked arm.
Yes, it’s true that Swisher and Ross did what the rest of the staff could not on those days—pitch scoreless innings against the teams that met in last year’s World Series. And yes it’s true that Ross once pitched a perfect game in high school. But it’s also true that Jose Canseco—a star batter in his own right in the 1980s—blew out his arm pitching for the Oakland Athletics.
Now, Canseco is not known as being the brightest tool in the shed. He once let a ball bounce off his head and into the stands for a homer. So he may not have known how to warm up or even pitch properly. But bringing in a Swisher or Ross without the proper throwing and rest routine can really wear out their arms easily. Worse, an injury to these players takes a bat out of the lineup and a glove from the field. To make the big league club, these guys had to show something at the plate or in the field, so it hurts the team more than the loss of a bullpen arm.
So despite the temptation, teams should avoid hanging their position players out to dry on the mound. Cause no matter how bad a game is going, it can get a whole lot worse.

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1 Comment »

  1. I agree with this completely. While managers may nto want to waste a real arm, bad things can and have happened when a position player is put on the mound. Also, just a heads up, the Albuquerque Isotopes are no longer the Marlins AAA-affiliate. It’s now the New Orleans Zephyrs.

    Comment by dvillavicencio — April 28, 2009 @ 5:51 pm | Reply


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